Why the DAWGS in the Natty Matters

From my seat in Sanford a Couple Years Ago

From my seat in Sanford a Couple Years Ago

I don’t know them and they don’t know me. I may meet one or two of them someday, I’ve got an autograph or two from coaches and teams past, but we will likely never know one another. If they win or lose it won’t make much difference in my actual real life. I know all that, yet I can barely contain my excitement. The team I have pulled for with passion since I was 12 years old is going to play for their first national championship since I was a sophomore at a junior college, one year before I would matriculate to the University of Georgia myself. Here is why it matters. Sports, rightly or wrongly, are a big part of our lives. In the South, football particularly, is a big part of our culture. It is so interwoven into the fabric of who we are it is difficult to describe. I hope we can keep it that way. I hope the money and the politics of the day don’t mess it up, but that’s a different blog for a different day. Here is what Georgia football means to me, and why this game looms so large…when it probably shouldn’t.

Georgia Football is Larry Munson playing through a transistor radio on my Pop’s kitchen table when I was 15. He and I were huddled close. We would look at one another wide eyed occasionally but never spoke. We were too locked into the broadcast. Dawgs were playing Kentucky in Lexington., Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that night I would one day live and work near there, and work for the Kentucky Governor no less. Robinson kicked a 29 yarder to win it. Larry cried out, “Watch it…watch it….yeah yeah yeah!!!” I can still remember my Pop looking up and smiling at me. I still see that smile to this day. I lost him in ’95.

Georgia Football is Munson once again, crackling through a nearby pickup speaker on AM radio, the windows down in the early September heat as we stood encircling a dove field in South Georgia with my friends the Cowarts. We wanted to Dove hunt but there was no cause to miss the game. I can’t remember the game but I remember us all talking to one another across the field about the game. Don’t think I shot a dove that day but for some reason the memory lingers and its a good one.

I remember Herschel Walker runs on a snowy TV with a rotary antenna and how we kept adjusting the rotation to try to get a better picture of this kid from Wrightsville we had heard so much about. The picture got fairly clear and then he ran over Bill Bates…My God a Freshman.

I remember my first ever Georgia game in person as they played at Auburn. Attending a real live sporting event had hitherto seemed an impossible dream, but there I was. I was struck by how even the ladies would bark like a dog at the very hint of someone yelling “Go Dawgs”. It was great.

Georgia Football is leaning against a chest cooler at a little country store drinking a Coke out of a green glass bottle that had flecks of ice on it and listening to the men talk about Jeff Pyburn and Willie Mac.

Georgia football is attending my first class at UGA. It was Biology. The class had a couple hundred students in it and I was blown away by that. But I floated all day because I was actually a student at Georgia. I couldn’t believe it.

Georgia football is countless games at Sanford, some with my girlfriend who became my wife and then the mother of my children. Later, when they were old enough, we took them too. There was the one game where we camped nearby, tailgated all day long, and attended a night game. That’s when I discovered 8 hours of tailgating was nearly too much tailgating.

Georgia football is the 2012 SEC title game between the DAWGS and this same Crimson Tide. I attended with good friends. It was one of the greatest games every played and we got our hearts shattered on the 2 yard line as the clock ran out.

Georgia football is a 2008 spur of the moment road trip with my son Nathan from Paducah, Kentucky all the dang way to Jacksonville, Florida to see the Georgia/Florida game. I managed to find a pair of what was then deemed an impossible ticket and Nathan jumped for joy as I bought them for face value. I was a King that day. We lost the game badly, but for the 12 hour drive and the pre-game and the first quarter we had the time of our lives.

Georgia football is going to be about this special magnificent season and sharing it once again with my family and my new son-in-law who pulls for the DAWGS in football because he loves my daughter and the DAWGS have grown on him. We are going to watch tomorrow and we are going to cheer the Bulldogs to victory and that night will become another thread in the tapestry.

The SEC commercial says, “It just means more.” in the SEC. Well, this game means more than it should, but it is what it is…a soundtrack to my life. Something that’s been a part of me as long as I can remember. I’m going to soak it up for all it is worth.

GO DAWGS!!!

I’m Thankful

"Kid" Miller and Rose. My Pop and Grandma

“Kid” Miller and Rose. My Pop and Grandma

Tomorrow is my favorite holiday of the year. Yes, I even love it more than Christmas. I would like to say that’s because I am not into consumerism or have somehow transcended the desire for material things, but its nothing nearly that noble. I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because my fondest memories of growing up are from that day.

Usually I would spend the night with my Grandma and Pop a night or two before Thanksgiving so I would be there for the cooking Palooza. The preparation would begin a full day before the meal would be served. I still have no idea how my grandma fed 25 to 30 family members an absolutely succulent thanksgiving meal from that tiny kitchen of hers. But she did so with military precision. Dinner was NEVER late and NEVER anything less than perfect.

A memory came to me very early this morning that I hadn’t thought of in decades. I was lying in bed at grandma’s. I guess I was 9 or 10. It was early, still dark outside my window. I had been awakened by the clanging of a pot lid and the pungent smell of celery and onions cooking. She must have been preparing them for inclusion in the dressing. I am ashamed to admit this now, but I remember being annoyed, maybe even a bit angry. Didn’t grandma know I was trying to sleep? And that smell was so strong! “Uggh. Who wants to smell that this early in the morning,” I thought. I know…what an ingrate. Like I said, I am embarrassed by it now.

Do you have any idea what I would give to smell that smell and hear that pot lid clang tomorrow morning? I would run to the kitchen and give her a great big hug and sit down with her and have a cup of coffee and talk as the cooking commenced. Then later in the day, how great would it be to see the old house filled once more with all the cousins and aunts and uncles that used to gather there.

Oh well…someday, in another place, at another feast.

Here are some things I am thankful for: I’m thankful first and foremost for salvation through Jesus Christ. I am thankful for family and friends as we all are. 

I’m thankful for a dog that follows every step you make, even when you are pushing the mower around, who is happy for a ten minute walk in the cold with you, even if that’s all the entertainment he gets that day.

"Chipper"

“Chipper”

I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to experience what its like to sing in a quartet when the harmony is right, push two hundred head of cattle with a good horse beneath me, be with my son when he bagged his first gobbler and several more since, to speak to an auditorium full of people when you said something that brought them to their feet and you know that you’ve made a connection, to have worked hard in a foreign land alongside other men when the goal was to demonstrate the love of Christ. And I’m thankful for Rosebower Baptist Church. The best most loving church I have ever been a

part of or ever will be a part of. 

This year I’m thankful for other things too, though it’s hard to say so. I’m thankful for the valleys and what God teaches us when we are there. But more than that, I am thankful that he brings us out of them. I’m thankful for roads that lead home, though not often enough, and for precious memories that don’t fade. I’m thankful for the trials that shape us, even when they hurt and are hard. Like the night I threw my graduation cap into the air and time stopped as as I caught it because as I looked around at my classmates I knew something they didn’t, that in mere days I would be moving far away and that I would never see most of them ever again. I cried on the ride home. And sadly, I’ve only seen a few of them since.

I’m thankful for a mountain ridge top one snowy morning at daybreak when I randomly let a Gideon Bible fall open and read these words from John 1:4-5 “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shown in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” And in that exact second the orange ball of the rising sun climbed over a distant mountain peak and blinded me with its brilliance. It was one of the greatest spiritual moments in my life.

I’m thankful for another snowy ridge in Kentucky when I stopped bird hunting and watched as big fat snowflakes fell into Racetrack Hollow (LBL) and the world was amazingly silent and the beauty made me forget about hunting. I knelt on one knee to take it in and my bird dog, Rebel, who was a hard charger and who never took a break in the field, came and leaned against me. I knew he was taking in the scene too and we sat like that for at least 15 minutes, just still, and in awe.

I could go on and on. But I’m thankful for grandma and Pop’s house and that I got to know so many of those Thanksgivings, that I can remember how my heart raced the first time I reached out and held Tracy’s hand, that I got to live in this country during times when it was perhaps at its greatest, for little country churches and men’s prayer breakfasts in the valley down in Talbot County Georgia, for old trucks, for Southern Gospel, for Hee Haw reruns because I used to watch that with Pop and they take me back there, for the entire summer I spent 12 hours a day on a tractor and ate lunch at a country store with a chest cooler where the green coke bottles had flecks of ice on them.

And I’m very thankful I like writing and that occasionally I write something that someone enjoys reading.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

 

 

The Ghosts of Independence

The Ghosts of Independence

“Intrinsically it is but a barren, war-worn rock, hallowed as so many places are by death and disaster. Yet it symbolizes within itself that priceless, deathless thing, the honor of a nation. Until we claim again the ghastly remnants of its last gaunt garrison, we can but stand humble supplicants before Almighty God. There lies our Holy Grail.”
General Douglas MacArthur, upon the surrender of Corregidor and Bataan
There will be fireworks tonight. I’ll go out and enjoy them with my family as I have since my children were small. This year will be different, however. For the first time in my life, I will wonder what we are celebrating. We’re certainly not celebrating freedom or independence in the way our parents and grandparents knew it. After all, the entirety of our populace is currently ruled by four black robed, unelected, jurists who sometimes are often tyrannical. Most recently they passed down from on high that there is some mythical constitutional right that abortion must also include the risk of butchery (i.e. Kermit Gosnell) and that making the macabre procedure more sanitary and safe is somehow a violation of the Constitution. In the same week, these leftist activists refused to hear an important religious freedom case that prompted Justice Alito to write, “Those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.”
The quote above came after MacArthur was ordered to leave Corregidor and the collection of cooks, mechanics, pilots whose planes had been shot down, seamen whose ships had been sunk and some civilian volunteers who had served as his “infantry” in defense of Bataan. And what a defense it was. Dealing with daily torrential downpours, nearly impenetrable jungles, without food or medical supplies, they fended off 20,000 Nipponese troops while living off of roots, leaves and occasionally monkey meat. They waited for reinforcements that would never come…would never even be sent. After MacArthur’s quote above, as a reward for their valor, these fighting men would face the Bataan Death March.
This Independence Day I am haunted by the ghosts of the casualties of battles like Bataan, Valley Forge, Hamburger Hill, Omaha Beach, Fallujah and the Chosin Reservoir. I am haunted because I can’t help but think that they are furious with my generation. Would they have fought so viciously and sacrificially if they’d known that we would roll over and give up our freedom, without so much as a struggle?
MacArthur was referring to a rock…a piece of land, but more than that he was referring to the national honor that piece of land represented. Remember the sailors that were taken hostage last year in the Persian Gulf? This week the Navy held a press conference in which they stated that a loss of morale led these seamen and their commander to make a series of mistakes that led to their capture. Ultimately it led to the release of far more information than the Navy code of conduct permits. Is it any wonder that morale was low when the sailors’ humiliation was preceded by Obama’s agreement to pay Iran twelve billion dollars of taxpayer money, all while the GOP led Congress fiddled? Is the honor of this nation any less at stake when the international viewing of American sailors on their knees at gunpoint was followed by John Kerry giving thanks to Iran for the treatment of the sailors? How do we inspire young men and women to fight for freedom when they know full well that freedom is daily being ceded on the home front?
We as citizens thought getting more informed would be enough. We thought if we voted correctly things would turn around. But if this presidential race has taught us anything, it should have jolted us from our delusions. All the conservative think tanks we’ve donated to, the candidates we volunteered for, the columns we have written and read, the hours of talk radio we listened to, haven’t been enough. We are losing the Republic that the “Bastards of Bataan” fought to preserve. At first the Republic was chipped away in tiny pieces. Now it’s being smashed away in large chunks.
This election cycle, ending up with two horrible Presidential candidates (one of whom is probably a traitor) has convinced me that the old tactics have failed us. I no longer believe that helping get GOP candidates elected can save the country. The primaries are very nearly a rigged game, manipulated by those who have been in power a long time and wish to remain so (the establishment) at all costs. Likewise, the media and the GOP are only able to work together for a few weeks every couple of years, during primary season when they share a common enemy…conservatism.
A couple of weeks ago in this space I alluded to the need for individual acts of valor. I think that those acts must manifest themselves in some type of major push for state’s rights. I am not sure yet if that means an Article Five convention of the States, or merely states actually exercising their existing Tenth Amendment rights. Nine years ago, I had never written a political column. I wrote about matters of the Christian faith, the heart and stories to make people laugh. Around 2007 I decided to turn the focus of my writing toward the political. I wanted to play a small part in articulating a Christian/conservative worldview back into political discussions. At the same time I volunteered with my local GOP office, eventually working on a winning campaign team at the state level. It hasn’t been enough. We must do more. We must move more boldly. There are legal, non-violent means of redress at our disposal. We must pursue them.
How ironic that on this Independence Day, the empire that we once fought so desperately for our freedom, now provides us with precisely the example of courage we need. Brexit should be our model. True independence from the federal behemoth must be our goal. So this year, instead of letting the fireworks be a tribute to the ghost of independence that has passed away, I’ll let them be a celebration for a new birth of freedom yet to come. I hope you will too.

Defending Your Values in a Sea of The Absurd, full text

Something went wrong with the link to my column I posted last night. Several followers reported that they got a message that the security certificate was not recognized. Not sure what happened but I deleted the post. Rather than take a chance with the link, below find the full text of that column:

It’s kind of hard to catch your breath isn’t it? If you’re a Christian in this country, working hard, trying to maintain a Christian home, and show love, kindness and God’s grace to your fellow man, then over these past weeks you’ve not been allowed a moment of respite. That’s because the left never rests, never stops coming, never seems to tire of chipping away at the foundations of the west. But since the left bases everything they believe on the premise that everything we see in the universe originated from nothing (ex-nhilio) then they can’t help themselves. Since the foundation of their belief system is based on the absurd notion that everything sprang from nothing, then their arguments on more specific matters must always devolve into the absurd. This has always been the case, the reason things seem to be so much more topsy turvy these days is because now the left is in charge. The left now owns the courts, the executive branch, the universities, and the most of the culture.

Thus in only the past three weeks, around the water cooler, in the breakroom, or in the school cafeteria, you have been forced to actually debate the following:

  • Whether grown men should use the restroom with little girls.
  • If a child’s life is life is more valuable than a gorilla’s.
  • And whether or not your Scriptural views on marriage caused an Islamic extremist you never heard of prior to last week to abide by the teachings of his local mosque and slaughter people.

And those are only the top three from very recent history. Interacting with people of the extreme left has been a constant journey through the looking glass for generations. Nowhere is this more crystal clear than in the aftermath of the Orlando terror attack. Not only as bulleted above did the New York Times Editorial page blame Christians, none other than, Jenn Hatmaker, who apparently now in addition to being a humorist, sees herself as a theological and intellectual giant who is fit to make pronouncements for all of Christiandom, said Christians were complicit. Planned Parenthood blamed “toxic masculinity”. While there is no denying that Planned Parenthood knows as much as any entity in history about the slaughter of innocent human beings, their root cause analysis in this instance is downright ludicrous.

If you get drawn in to such conversations in which you may bravely be trying to defend your faith based views, keep one thing in mind, you do not owe anyone a justification of the obvious. You will drive yourself nuts attempting to do so. Take the NCAA as another example. They recently released a statement regarding North Carolina’s bathroom law (which law had to be passed to defend the obvious and age old standard that males use the men’s room and females use the ladies’ room). The NCAA insisted on an “open” bathroom policy because they said they wanted to “provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination”. Let that soak in a moment. In the view of this body made up of academics it is safer for little girls to be forced to enter public restrooms that can now be frequented by strange men than for those little girls to have the expectation of privacy. As Muggeridge once wrote, this is a classic example of these NCAA officials having “educated themselves into imbecility”.

None of this is to say that the tiny fraction of the population of people who actually have gender identity issues should not be treated with compassion. That too is obvious. But as the left always insists, just being compassionate and respectful isn’t enough. Instead the entirety of the rest of the 99.3% of the population must be made to bend to the will of the 0.7%. That’s because for the left this entire issue is not about compassion for the transgendered. Whether they realize it consciously or not the issue is being used as a chisel to damage the foundation of a civil society. The fact that mores relating to gender have withstood the test of all of human history seems to bother the left not at all.

One must understand where we have arrived in history. We now live in a culture where for the majority of the people the God of the Bible seems dead. Make no mistake, God is alive, sovereign and still on His throne. But the majority of the population rejects that truth. Thus, with no basis in objective truth as laid out in Scripture there is no basis to determine what is right and what is wrong. Thus the primary ethic of America and most of the world in 2016 is expediency. Whatever the whim of the culture happens to be at this brief moment in time is what is right. Tradition and moral absolutes that have withstood time’s test be damned.

The way for a Christian to face this reality is not by becoming mired down in debate with persons who do not even accept the most basic premises of western culture (Such as that man is made in the image of God and thus has much more value than an animal, or that God made us male and female.) Society must continue to operate on with these values in mind, when it does not, chaos will ensue. In the case of gender, though tragic exceptions derive from the fall, the whole of society cannot turn itself on its head to accommodate and embrace these exceptions. Rather than debate then, just keep living by them.

The people around us sense that something is dreadfully wrong in society even as they argue against these truths. In such a culture we have the opportunity for our lives, which are lived with full acknowledgement of these moral abosolutes, to be an active, ongoing testimony. We can’t win an argument with the absurd. But we can continue to live the God’s truth and allow that truth to be a beacon to lead others out of the chaos.

Commemorating WWII as We Lose WWIII

I wrote this column after a visit with my son to the National WWII Museum. A Quote from the column: Despite the emotions I felt that day of awe, wonder, abject sadness and horror, I left the museum with one overriding feeling that hasn’t left me even now, five days later…regret. I can’t stop asking myself how did the culture of the West go from that level of valor and selflessness and determination, to one that has nominated Clinton and Trump? How is it that my generation is in the active process of allowing what one writer called the unholy trinity of media, entertainers, and leftist university professors, to do that which our grandparents would not allow Hitler, or Mussolini, or Stalin to do?