Sunday, March 27, 2011

WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT WAR?-VOLUME 3

The following is a guest editorial on the subject of God and War.  This is the third  blog ("Where to Next" was the first, then "What Does God Say About-War-2)  in regards to this subject.  We currently have invitations extended to a number of other experts on the subject.  The opinions shared are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of "My Father's Voice".


You will hear of Wars and rumors of Wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.  Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against Nation and Kingdom against Kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  --Matthew 24:6-7

In case you haven't noticed, in addition to the unrest in Libya and Yemen, we now have Syria kicking up its heels.  Twelve people were killed and over 200 injured in fighting that broke out against the government in the seaside city of Latakia. 

As anti-government unrest continues to ripple across the Middle East, many in Israel are worried that changes in the Arab world could lead to renewed hostilities against them.   But analysts say it remains to be seen whether the upheaval will threaten Israel and its pillars of security, including peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan.  "My sense is people in Israel are quite concerned, unsure that it's a good thing", said Robert Schadler, a senior fellow in public diplomacy at the American Foreign Policy Council and former State Department official in the Reagan administration.  "I think in the immediate future, any kind of discord and chaos is good for Israel because if your regime is about to fall, you're not about to attack Israel", he said.   If I'm Israel, I'm not sure they'd agree.  Today, Israel announced they have a new rocket system designed to go online to protect them in the event of a missile strike.  So why is there War?  Let's continue with some additional comments from PleaseConvinceme.com

#5
The truth is that the world is filled with sinful people, and war is simply one of many results of sin. Now many people would argue that RELIGION is the cause of war. But to say that EVERY war has been fought on theological grounds is simply untrue. Given free reign, humans will find something to fight about. It may be about religion, but if not, it will be about some other ideology or simply about greed and power. While religion may be one excuse to go to war, it is only that: one excuse. But remember that there will always be SOME excuse. So, why do we find ourselves fighting? Think about it for a minute. It comes down to our very nature as greedy, prideful, power-hungry humans. And this nature is described perfectly in the scriptures.

There Will Be Wars and Rumors of Wars....
#6
So, let’s be straight about the cause of war. As Christians we are commended NOT to murder. We are also given several exceptions and allowed to KILL. If we do this however, we had better make sure that we are RESPONDING to sin, rather than being yet another SOURCE of sin. And there are plenty of examples in the Scripture of ways in which God’s people have been commanded to respond to sin by engaging in war. The Old Testament is replete with examples of God ordering His people to go to battle with the nations around them.  And there are plenty of examples in the Scripture of ways in which God’s people have been commanded to respond to sin by engaging in war. The Old Testament is replete with examples of God ordering His people to go to battle with the nations around them.

#7
If you read Numbers 31:1-2 there is some further direction.  " The Lord spoke to Moses saying" take full vengeance for the sons of Israel on the Midianites: afterward you will be gathered to your people".   Wow, that sounds pretty brutal. Why would God command all of this? Is he commanding murder? Not from His perspective. But he is commanding his people to kill. The difference is that God (being omniscient) knew these surrounding nations perfectly. He knew their hearts and he knew their future if they were allowed to exist near the nation of Israel. He knew they would seek Israel’s destruction (gee, things don’t sound like they’ve changed all that much)! God has that kind of knowledge.

God knew that the nations that surrounded Israel would eventually lead them away from God and seek the destruction of Israel as a nation:

As I mentioned earlier, this is a touch subject.  But I'd like to hear your input.  This is a forum we can learn in.  The lines are open.  God and little old me are waiting.

YGG,

John

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A FAMILY JOURNAL: FATHER TO SON-VOLUME 12

The journal you are about to read is part of an ongoing dialogue.  The words are a conversation between "the family" of
the soldier experience.  It's Dads, Moms, Sons,  Daughters,  Relatives and Friends sharing their thoughts of a particular day and/or it could be the soldiers journal entry detailing his or hers.  I believe there are many, many people keeping a journal through the Afghan War.  If you want to share an entry of yours email it to jkmyfathersvoice@gmail.com  Your post will be strictly confidential,  no names will be used.  In addition, locations overseas will not be mentioned for security purposes except the country of origin.  Some editing may be done to further protect the journal participant.

Dear Sonpo:

I've been struggling the last several days.  I know that sounds selfish, but I have been.  I've been wrestling with what to do with my future, our family's future.  Where do we live?  Do we move to another part of the country?  All sorts of questions.  And in it all, I'm asking God to lead.  But it's hard being patient!! 

Then I think of you, son.  And I think of all the wasted energy I've exerted.  It makes me wonder what your days are like.  How the days run one into another and you have no idea if it's Thursday or Friday.  Then I watch the news and see what's going on in Libya and Yemen.....and I wonder, is this ever going to end? 

Earlier this week, my brother passed on an email that I've found myself reading every day.  It puts alot of MY struggles into perspective.  It might just do the same for you and others.  I'll post this as a narration piece.  The first part of the comment is the common occurrence In The World (ITW) and the follow up thought is about you and any Soldier (S).    


(ITW)Your   cell   phone   is   in   your   pocket.  You're looking at all the pretty girls.
(S)He patrols the streets, searching for  insurgents and terrorists.  He's told he will be held over an extra two months.

(ITW)You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.  
(S)He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.   

(ITW)You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.  
(S)He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume.  

(ITW)You roll your eyes as a baby cries.  
(S)He gets a letter with pictures of his new child and wonder if they'll ever meet.   
  

A Safe Place....In Dad's Arms

(ITW)You criticize your government, and  say that war never solves anything.
(S)He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting.
  

(ITW)You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him.  
(S)He hears the gunfire, bombs and  screams of the wounded.
  

(ITW)You see only what the media wants you to see. 
(S)He sees the broken bodies lying around him. 
  

(ITW)You are asked to do something by your parents.  You don't 
(S)He does exactly what he is told even if it puts his life in danger.  
  

(ITW)You stay at home and watch TV.  
(S)He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep and eat.  
  

(ITW)You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows and get comfortable.  
(S)He tries to sleep but gets woken by mortars and helicopters all night long..  

I must tell you son, those words are helping with my perspective.  The next time I start complaining, I'll think of you and all the soldiers around the world who sacrifice for us minute by minute.  I pray my attitude, my thoughts and ultimately my words provide evidence that I am put on this earth to serve.....not be served. 

Philippians 2:1-4If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

129 Days or 17 weeks to go......Praying for your Safety Son.  Praying for you Daily.

Love,

Dadpo

                                                    -30-

YGG,

John
 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

WHO PACKS YOUR PARACHUTE?

I was going through some old boxes this week in the basement that I hadn't looked at for some time.  They contained old sports clippings, memorabilia, CD's, birthday cards from yesteryear and some letters that I filed under "from friends and loved ones".

Boy if that doesn't take a person back in time.  If anything, you come away appreciating that you've impacted people in your life and they in return have done the same for you.  It was a small rendition for me, like, "It's A Wonderful Life".  Through it all, there was one card in particular that I found most compelling.

The note and letter inside was  from Rick Nielsen, President of Blueprint for Life, Inc.  We had met several weeks before and Rick was following up from that connection.  These words jumped off the card...God is fair; He will not forget the work you did and the love you showed for Him by helping His people".  A smidgen convicting, I might say.  The letter was next.....it was titled, "Who Packs Your Parachute"?


"Charles Plumb, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was a jet pilot in Vietnam.  After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile.  Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands.  He was captured and spent six years in a Communist Vietnam prison.  He survived the ordeal and now lectures on the lessons he learned from that experience.   

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man about two tables away kept looking at him.  Plumb didn't recognize him.   A few minutes into the meal the man stood up and walked over to table, looked down at him, pointed his finger in his face and said, "You're Captain Plumb."

He looked up and said, "Yes sir, I'm Captain Plumb."

The man said, "You flew jet fighters in Vietnam. You were on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down. You parachuted into enemy hands and spent six years as a prisoner of war."

Plumb said, "How in the world did you know all that?"

The man replied, "Because, I packed your parachute."

Plumb was speechless.  He staggered to his feet and held out a very grateful hand of thanks. The man came up with just the proper words.  He grabbed Plumb's hand, he pumped his arm and said, "I guess it worked."

"Yes sir, indeed it did",  Plumb said, "and I must tell you I've said a lot of prayers of thanks for your nimble fingers, but I never thought I'd have the opportunity to express my gratitude in person."

The man said, "Were all the panels there?"

"Well sir, I must shoot straight with you," Plumb replied, "of the eighteen panels that were supposed to be in that parachute, I had fifteen good ones. Three were torn, but it wasn't your fault, it was mine. I jumped out of that jet fighter at a high rate of speed, close to the ground. That's what tore the panels in the chute. It wasn't the way you packed it."

"Let me ask you a question," Plumb said, "do you keep track of all the parachutes you pack?"

"No" the man responded, "it's enough gratification for me just to know that I've served."



A Parachute Packed Properly...

Now, in the lectures Plumb gives, he points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory-he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute and his spiritual parachute.  He called on all of those supports before reaching safety.

So the philosophical question here is this: How's your parachute packing coming along?  Who looks to you for strength in times of need?  And perhaps, more importantly, who are the special people in your life who provide you the encouragement you need when the chips are down? Perhaps it's time right now to give those people a call and thank them for packing your chute.

 
I must say, the note and letter from Rick was a great find.   But you know what?  I haven't laid eyes on Rick Nielsen since that one time meeting some 13 years ago.  In truth, he was packing my parachute that day.  Now, my mission is to find him.  A thank you is in order.


YGG,

John   

Friday, March 18, 2011

WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT WAR?-VOLUME 2

The following is a guest editorial on the subject of God and War.  This is the second blog ("Where to Next" was the first)  in regards to this subject.  We currently have invitations extended to a number of other experts on the subject.  The opinions shared are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of "My Father's Voice".


My tension with what I would consider to be the "first assumption" of this discussion:  that the canonized books of the "Holy Bible" are authoritative as "God's divine and infallible Word ", and trump out all other sources of authority and reason on the subject, and that God is through speaking on the subject for all time.  This is problematic.

People of faith are called into just and compassionate living.  In all faith belief systems there is an underlying reverence for human life and all that is within it.  Social systems that have arisen throughout the history of humankind have all had to live with defined borders and boundaries, either geographic or abstract, delineated by choice or force, between themselves and others.  This is evident in the text of the Hebrew Bible as well as it being the background for the long-awaited arrival of the Messiah for delivery from Roman occupation of Israel in Jesus' time.

The descendents of Abram were at first nomadic, then foreign captives, and then "landed" residents of Canaan.  In their perceived relationship with God, they were God's chosen to inherit and inhabit a geographic location which was settled and possessed by others.   As the nation-state of "Israel" emerged (12th-10th centuries BCE) there were obvious battles for territory which resulted.  Physical might was the way of the world; those with the latest technological advantage to win physical battle, or with ways of creating perceived domination in whatever manner became those who possessed land, people, values systems and resource.  The allegories and histories of the Hebrew people logged battle after battle in the year of the conquest. 

The Hebrew texts speak of a society in which religion and statehood co-exist, with the Hebrew understanding of God as divine source of ethic, vision, resource and future.  War as a means of instituting,  maintaining, or establishing justice ("just war") is evident throughout the history of Judaism as it was also with other cultures.  In their demand for kingdoms, contrary to the Mosaic prototype of Jewish culture with God as their "king", the Israelites bought into the social mores and practices of the world around them, living as people with borders to be defended rather than values to be shared throughout the world.   War resulted in search of and defense of  physical territory and property.

War Has Some Unsual Characteristics....

If we use only The Holy Bible as our source for what God says about War, we can make assumptions:

--God appears to allow War to achieve the mission of God's work among humankind as perceived by the religious and political leaders who lead "God's chosen people".

--God deplores aggression which is unjustified or evil.

--Godly authority (by anointing or assumption) is used as the means by which people have been led into War by religious and political leaders in many instances in The Holy Bible, introducing the "human factor" into the whole War thing.

--War in The Holy Bible appears to be a commonly understood means of the exertion of power and control throughout the history of humankind with references to its presence with us in current times and in the future.  The Holy Bible appears to accept "War" as an ongoing fact of life among humans. 

Now let's conjugate this.  My tradition approaches faith life through Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience.  Although The Holy Bible is used as a source of authority, it is not the only resource available to us when talking about God and War.  We try to make things so complicated and absolute, and indeed life is complicated and very nebulous.  But most of life can be condensed to basic assumptions and presumptions.  For instance, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten", by Robert Fulghum, really does include everything that applies to this discussion about War (http://www.robertfulghum.com/).  Children of God know War is a regrettable act of aggression for whatever reason, but also a fact of human life on the face of this earth.  Should we strive for it?  Absolutely not.  Can we defend our values, properties and boundaries without it?  I'd like to think we can, but after eons and ages of human history, we haven't found a way yet.  Each generation produces a mix of kind, compassionate folk, some crazies and some plain old bullies.  So in that tension, we should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves, love our enemies, love kindness and walk humbly with God.  Will that eradicate the need for War? 

We haven't done it yet, so we don't know.  I don't think the human understanding of divine logic is complete yet.  That means we get to be a part of it.  ---Rev. Gary Van Wert, of Trinity United Methodist Church, Charles City, Iowa  

YGG,

John 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NOW THAT TROOPS DEPLOYED, ARE THERE ANY TEARS LEFT?

*Note....the following is the letter to the editor that was published in the Des Moines Sunday Register on October 24th, 2010 that ultimately led to the launch of "My Father's Voice".  Nearly five months later many of the emotions that were here expressed remain "active".  Four months remain until the Iowa soldiers return home.  The stories that we'll be following in the coming months, are the triumphs and struggles the soldiers and the deployed families face each and every day and how training and spiritual resolve play a part in the equation.  Let's roll.........


A tear drop hit my pillow last night as I lay awake …..followed moments later by a second and a third.  The last one was a long, streaming one, which I think had a more profound significance than the others.    Certainly this was the one that forced me to choke back a real melt down.

PV 3 Kristopher Kelling

It has been two and a half months since I had really let my emotions come forth.  It was tough saying goodbye to my oldest son, Kristopher, that day at the Boone campus.  He along with some 100 other National Guardsman boarded 4 busses and headed off to Camp Shelby in Mississippi.  It was a day unlike any other I had known.  Families being stretched to the greatest of emotional lengths.  Some said goodbye to husbands, others to wives,  son and daughters.   There were young spouses no doubt left with the responsibility of trying to  explain what was going on and why mommy or daddy was leaving on a bus with a whole lot of other people.  Another young lady,  looking to give birth within a month or so, tried to hold back tears.  She wasn’t doing a very good job, but who was I to talk.  Yet, looking around me, I could only think of how each of our lives would become different.  Yes, our tears were real that day……..

Last night though, my tears were different.  They were bigger and they came out of nowhere.   And they were  much different than the ones back on July 30th.   And they are different again today as I try to put my feelings down with words that don’t do justice.  Justice for me, my family and all the other men and women and their friends and families who are experiencing their loved one deploying to Afghanistan.  Today, when my son leaves, and in the following weeks more than 3,000 Iowa Guardsman will be leaving our safe shores to DEPLOY.  Not train, but deploy.

 What does deploy mean? I had to look it up to make sure.  Google had a short definition which stated, “to move into a position of readiness or availability.”   Okay…that makes sense.  Yet, I feel there is one important word that was  left out.  REAL.  There will be Real bullets and a Real enemy for REAL.  And it’s all for Real life and real death in a region that I‘m still trying to get my mind wrapped around.  Is Afghanistan all that important?   Are we fighting on level terms?  Those questions alone are enough to make a person tear up.  

So as you can see,  my tears have been different.  They were a “safe” tear when I knew my son was here in our country preparing for his duty.   Now, it’s the furthest thing from that.  Safe tears  have been replaced by  scared tears, followed by proud tears followed by scared tears.

It goes without saying, that I have come to a greater appreciation for our military and our country through this whole deployment process.   Men and women have taken to their responsibility and  are making all Iowans proud.  I won’t kid you, it’s going to be a long 9 months.   What do my future tears hold in store for me?  Will it be for someone who has a solider wounded?  Or will it be for one killed in action?  I can’t even think of going there.

It has been said that tears are good for the soul.  It’s our reaction to an experience.  It has an awful lot to do with living, I think.   If you’ve seldom let your emotions or experiences taken you there, then today, think about those whose lives will be challenged from every angle possible.   An old sixties song, “96 Tears” sure comes to mind right now.  “Cry, cry, cry…96 tears, tears for the warm hearted, 96 tears.”  How many tears do I have left?  I don’t really know, but  I do know this.   The shortest and sweetest verse in the Bible is…. ‘‘Jesus wept.”   Puts it all in perspective, don’t you think?

YGG,

John

Thursday, March 10, 2011

IF YOU'RE READING THIS....

One of the most difficult, if not "thee" most difficult letters to have to write would be a final letter to family and loved ones.  It just has to.  In today's military, soldiers are encouraged to write one and place it among their belongings.  One source told me as few as twenty five percent of the soldiers do this.  And that's after instruction being given on its importance.  How hard must it be when you have to reflect on loved ones, detail failed dreams, provide encouragement in life and then offer a point of purpose that you feel your life and dying meant?

Since 2003, over 4,400 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq and nearly 1,500 in Afghanistan.  Almost 6,000 total.   If you think about it with the percentages I mentioned above,  then only those who died in Afghanistan left a final letter.  Those numbers underscore the 4,400 families who in addition to the loss they suffered, were not able to have a "last" connection with their loved one.

Cpl. Jason Bogar with a "found" purpose
What would such a letter look like?  Here's one I found, which I think you might find illuminating.  The following was discovered on the computer of Army Corporal Jason Bogar of Seattle, Washington after his death on a second tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2008.  His family shared this with CBS News shortly thereafter.

TO MY FAMILY:

"I feel my days are numbered so I want to say all this while I still can. I pray to God no one will ever have to read this but as death is all around me if it falls upon me you will understand my recent feelings on this madness we call life.

My views and outlook on life seems to be drastically changing recently. As many of you saw before I left when I quit drinking, I was just starting to live my life.  Never have I felt as strong as I do about what I am doing here in Afghanistan as the right thing to be doing and is understood and accepted by God. As a result of that death is easier to accept.

Coming back over here again seemed more appealing than being in America surrounded by Americans that are more concerned about their next new car, new house, celebrity, ect.  than the threat to the way of life of the west that is so prevalent in the places I‘ve grown to accept as daily life.  I hope one day there will be more Americans knowledgeable on the situation with terrorism in Afghanistan and how important it is that it’s destroyed.

Being back here in Afghanistan is exactly were I was supposed to be and where I wanted to be. I feel I’m doing more good over here than I was as an electrician. I knew exactly what I was doing when I re-enlisted in the Infantry.   I’m just sorry that you all have to suffer for it now.

For me to prepare myself to take life without hesitation has been a very difficult thing to do. To take away another man or woman’s son, husband or  brother has always bothered me.  But through my eyes is understood by my God and I am forgiven.  For the man that took my life more than likely for all he has known his whole life he feels the exact same way I do when he killed me. That is what scares me and I don’t think is understood by disappointingly a huge percentage of Americans. 

I’ve always used the analogy if your were told the color blue is green your whole life and someone tells you it’s actually blue they can give you all the facts in the world to prove it’s blue but at the end of the day it’s still green to you.  The enemy were faced with is most of the time beyond words and it comes down to a sad but inevitable conclusion.  We have to have young men that are willing to die to act on them and kill them before they can carry out any plans they have to kill innocent people because that is what they believe Allah wants, from distorted teachings of the Koran.

Know that you all are the reason I am here and to give my life for that is nothing to me. My love for every-one of you is what drives me and brings me comfort under stressful situations.

Carise let your child know of me and that even though I was never able to see he/she grow I love them more than they could imagine."

***Note...

Cpl. Bogar was killed in a firefight at Wanat, Afghanistan on July 13, 2008.  He was 25.  Six weeks after Jason was killed, his sister Carise gave birth to a son, Isaac Jason.

As I mentioned in the lead paragraph of this blog post, writing a letter of this nature would have to be difficult.  I can imagine the day Cpl. Bogar sat in front of his computer and wrote down his thoughts.  When he finished who knows how he really felt.  Did he think was it helpful, did it give some significance to his situation?  Again, we'll probably never know.  What we do know, is that the solace his family and friends can take in his "final" words, are ones that can last them throughout their lifetimes.  And if that isn't an exclamation point, then what is.....

Tim McGraw has a song regarding the "letter" with a song titled, "If Your Reading This.....  Click and listen.




YGG,

John

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

SOME AFTER EFFECTS OF DEPLOYMENT...DIVORCE

The information I'm going to share with you today concerns some of the fallout that occurs throughout the life of military personnel, DIVORCE.

In a little over four months, the 3,500 Iowa troops deployed to Afghanistan will be coming back to the states. That's great news. What isn't so great, is some of the struggles that will take place as each of those soldiers seeks to connect back with the "norm". The two weeks of deprocessing when they arrive home will go a long way in offering solutions. Sadly, it won't be the cure all.

Could it be this simple...Sharing?
A recent Fox News story spoke about the struggles of the female GI and the high divorce rate that exists within the group. Here is a small excerpt:

"Failed marriages were the cost of war for Sgt. Jennifer Schobey.

The breaking point in her first marriage came when her husband deployed to Afghanistan, the last in a long line of separations they had endured as they juggled two military careers. Schobey married another combat veteran, but eventually that union failed under the weight of two cases of post-traumatic stress disorder — his and hers. They are now getting divorced.

Separations. Injuries. Mental health issues. All are added weights to the normal strains of marriage.

For women in the military, there's a cold, hard reality: Their marriages are more than twice as likely to end in divorce as those of their male comrades — and up to three times as likely for enlisted women. And military women get divorced at higher rates than their peers outside the military, while military men divorce at lower rates than their civilian peers."

The story provides some cold, hard facts....and truths to the world our military lives in. And it does offer some hope for continued education.

My wife, Joanne, insightful person that she is, added these remarks to the discussion.  Why is reuniting difficult? The average person would think that it's just because marriage partners have grown apart. That is the least of the problems in many cases. It's the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Coming down off of being in nothing but HIGH ALERT MODE for a year. Trying not to react to noises, people, garbage in the road, the lack of constant activity, not being with the guys you've come to be so close with, not having the spouse understand what you have experienced because they have not walked in your boots.  Not to mention the temptation to try and settle the emotions down with alcohol/drug use...

"Each of the military services today offers a variety of programs focused on strengthening or enriching marriage. The Army, for example, offers a program called "Strong Bonds," which provides relationship help to married couples as well as single soldiers and "resiliency" classes for spouses of both sexes."

One can only hope that these programs ARE effective. When you think about the sacrifice one makes when committing to the military, a failed marriage should not be part of the equation.

 Mark 10:6-9
"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
To read the entire article you can click on the link I've provided.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/03/08/female-gis-struggle-higher-rate-divorce/?test=latestnews

YGG,

John

Saturday, March 5, 2011

WHERE IN THE WORLD?

The internet is a unique creature. Sometimes I despise it and other times I marvel at it. But finally, curiousity has gotten the better of me!! I've got to ask a question now that we've been active with the blog site for over 4 months.

And here's why. We've had visitors from 30 countries to "My Father's Voice". Not 30 counties, not 30 states, but 30 COUNTRIES. In alphabetical order, here they are:

Afghanistan, Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia,Cyprus, Denmark

Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia

Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.

***UPDATE 3/6/2011, 8 a.m. CST..Make that 31. Welcome United Arab Emirates to the mix. What's up?


Can you find yourself on the globe above? Somewhere....you can find your location. But why and how? Those are a couple of questions that have befuddled me. How did you find the blog? What association to the military and God do you have? And what has brought you back time and again? I'm curious.....

I'm also inquisitive of the thoughts you leave with. So let me ask this question to you, whoever you are? What say you? Connect with us and tell us why. If you would rather not comment at the end of a story, then use my email address on the left side of the site and we can interact that way (jkmyfathersvoice@gmail.com).

Curiousity killed the cat, no doubt. I'm hoping that doesn't happen to me. But, my gosh, isn't this world we live in, strange. Yet it still is something to behold.

Where in the World are You? And what are you up to and what are you thinking....I'd love to hear. If you're a soldier far away from home, then this is your pathway for the world to know your experiences. Let us know...the world is your stage. Just step right up!!


YGG,

John

Thursday, March 3, 2011

SOME MORE WHY QUESTIONS....

A little over a month ago, I posted  in "My Father's Voice", some "why" questions concerning the news of the day or the peer pressure item of the week.  In truth, those items to be examined were challenging me and my faith....and no doubt yours.  At least I hope they were.  And as you'd expect, we now have more staring us right in the face.  It's really a matter of whether they affect you, how they affect, why they affect, should they affect or when will they affect you.  

For me, these questions and any others that follow are forcing me to dig deeper.  I've felt alot of emotions.  Words like unrest, uncomfortable, unacceptable, unamused, unappealing, unaware, unbacked, unbelievable and UNAMERICAN.  There are 3,876 words that begin with "un" and many of those would apply.  Do you have a favorite "un" word to describe situations you find hard to find answers to?

Today, the new list I share with you will not be long because in the end, this exchange will be more about how it impacts you.  It's already hit me.  Perhaps, though, I can lead you somewhere....

1.  Why are the recent uprisings in Egypt and Libya of any importance to us?

2.  Why would the Supreme Court vote 8-1 to allow Westboro Baptist Church the right to continue to protest at the funerals of fallen military personnel?

3.  Why would a lone 21-year old, Kosovo gunman enter a bus at the Frankfurt, Germany airport and kill 2 U.S. Airman and wound two others?

4.  Why is lack of confidence and motivation a big problem facing our U.S. Military in 2011?  

5.  Why are oil prices going to cause serious problems for the world economy, and ultimately for us at the gas pump and every other aspect of our lives?

As I said, it wouldn't be a very long list.  I could have asked a whole more.  I could have thrown out the name Charlie Sheen.  But really who cares?  Or should we?  Maybe, just maybe, we should focus on the man, rather than the antics of the spoiled actor.  This dude needs serious help.  And of course there are others that deserve questioning.  The Wisconsin Debate, the War on Drugs at the Mexican Border and the misuse of spending by our U.S. Government just to name several more.  But I'll skip those for today.

I'd like to tell you a story.  Many years ago, a young man marveled at his father's occupation as a private detective. He heard details of kidnappings and murders that added to the glamorous setting his father lived in.  What the young man didn't see though, was the constant turmoil his Dad lived in.  He had the fear that someday one of the people he helped send to prison might seek revenge.

One day the phone rang at their home.  The young man's mother answered the phone.  After a few seconds of conversation, she said "he's not here".  And then followed that up with "that's funny.  He just hung up", as she turned to her watchful son.   As was the norm for this family, any unidentified call needed to be reported to the "office".

Within minutes, cars came to a screeching halt on the street outside the house.  Quickly, officers were present within the house and at any entrance.  The boy's father asked his wife what she said to the caller.  "I told them, he's not here", she replied.  The father was furious.  In fact, in memory, it was the only time the young man ever saw his dad mad at his mom.  "Never, never, never, say he's not here", Dad said.  She never did again.

Don't we do the same thing?  When our problems seem insurmountable aren't we prone to say, God's not here. He is though.  He's there when our "why" questions seem overwhelming, he's there when we hit the wall and see no end to a problem.  Never, never, never, say he's not here.

Have you ever heard of a bridge to nowhere?  Ever seen a picture?  Take a look....

Where do your bridges lead you?

This particular "bridge to nowhere" was built in 1936 near Azusa, California in the San Gabriel Mountains.  It was initially designed to connect ski resorts but a torrential rain in 1938 washed out roads leading to the structure.  It has never carried a car.  Today, it is only accessible via a nine mile hike or horseback ride.  And there are others.  Some of those have architect blueprints behind them and others lie in our minds.  Where are your bridges?  Are they working out for you?  Are some fruitless and frustrating?

   
I think the above illustration says alot, however I leave it to you to interpret.  These are times when the "why" questions will only get longer and stranger in scope.  But that's in THIS world they will.  There is another option.  And if you want, you can ask me why.   

YGG,

John

"Holy Spirit, I trust your guidance on the roadways of life. How I rejoice that Jesus is the bridge that leads me to the heart of God"- Fay Angus


  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WHERE TO NEXT.....

What Does God Say About War?  That's a question my wife, Joanne, dug into several weeks ago for our small group.  We were talking about the book of Joshua and she was moved to print off some information in regards to the subject.  Later she said, "You should blog about it".  "I think people need to know what God says about War".  So here goes.....

I'm going to start this conversation by sharing a couple of thoughts from PleaseConvinceMe.com  Perhaps this can help get us started.  My hope is that these initial ideas will fuel a reaction and then we'll see where God directs this. 

#1
"In a time when the world is still divided by war and conflict, Christians have a duty and responsibility to think through the morality of the use of deadly force, especially when it comes to the issue of War.  Many Christians are strict pacifists and lean heavily on the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount".

#2
"Christian pacifists then point to a foundational teaching of the Old Testament, citing the command, “You shall not kill,” found in the Ten Commandments. So how can we, as Christians, ever justify the use of deadly force, even in times of war? Doesn’t action of this nature violate the fundamental teaching of Jesus and the Old Testament (which Jesus affirmed as well)?

Moses with the Ten Commandments
#3
“You shall not kill” is actually not a command found in the Bible. The command from scripture in the original language actually says “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). The Hebrew word for ‘murder’ literally means “the intentional, premeditated killing of another person with malice.” Interestingly, most of us are familiar with this definition of murder, because it is reflected in the penal codes of our country".

#4
"We need to stop for a minute and think about the true cause of war. Why does ANY war begin? Why would we EVER find ourselves considering war in the first place? If we are honest about this, we can usually point to some initial point of conflict that is simply the direct result of human sin. We all have an intuitive sense that evil exists in the world, and the Bible tells us where this evil lives".

Additionally, here is some news fresh off Fox News.  Perhaps this might cause something to stir inside you.

"Two U.S. soldiers were killed in a shooting at Germany's Frankfurt airport, according to Sky News. Two other people were reportedly injured.  A man reportedly opened fire on a bus carrying U.S. soldiers.  The BBC is reporting that police arrested a 21-year old suspect from Kosovo".

I've talked to several pastors who I'd like to weigh in on this subject.  In the days ahead, we'll hear from them.  But I want to hear from you too.  This is a touchy subject no doubt, but one we can all find some answers to.  The lines are open.  God and little old me are waiting................


YGG,

John