Steven Blanton ~ Leaderocity

Read my blog on Leadership / Small Groups / Life @Leaderocity


Hummingbird Wars

I always thought of hummingbirds as being a sort of magical creature aloof from the trivial and mundane. You know the kind. In flight like little angels, they are the genus of bird that would be model citizens in the terrene of fowl. After all, they can fly backwards. That is quite special in the birds’ macrocosm. How can you have a beef with a backward-flying bird? But I guess when you live in a world where everybody flies backward it isn’t really all that special.

The little guys are very territorial. Anybody with a hummingbird feeder knows about this. They find a bountiful supply of that delicious sweet nectar and stake a claim. All other comers beware. I don’t care if you just flew in from Brazil parched and your elongated tiny tongue is lagging out, you aren’t invited over for drinks. The little bug-eating carnivores stop at the feeder for some carbs and to wash down the bug guts, I guess. But each one wants his own space and his survival depends on it.

Gentle as they may appear there is good reason to defend their territory. He has a wife and three kids who need shoes and they are counting on him to bring home the bacon. So, if hummingbird Joe just barges in and lands on the feeder there will be war among the birds of a feather. Frail but fierce these mighty miniature warriors dominate without fear. Proof that even hummingbirds if provoked, will do what they must to survive.

On June 5th 1967 the Israeli army launched what would be called a “preemptive” strike on Egypt. The Egyptian’s and allied Arab’s caucus belli or “justified” act of war that provoked Israel’s audacious anticipatory operation was to blame. Ports were blockaded and trade routes cut off to the Israelis. That coupled with the forayer on their borders was proof enough. The mantra of the Egyptian soldiers was “defeat Israel-death to the Jews”.

The Israeli response to these very real threats was so severe and swift that the offending armies were overwhelmed. They simply never anticipated the fury of the little nation with something to lose. Like stinging yellowjackets whose nest had been disturbed they soared up from the ground. In quadrangle formation the Israeli sorties flew low through gaps in Egyptian radar. As one set of planes finished its bombing run the next set of four was already in route with another load of hurt providing no time for recovery. They targeted the Egyptian Air Force runways first followed by the destruction of parked bombers to demise threats to Israeli cities. Most of the Egyptian planes lie burning on the ground and never got into the air. Their crack-trained ground troops moved into enemy territory with lightening speed and rolled over their belligerent opponent. The hopes of Egypt and their Arab neighbors were shattered as their offence turn to defense, then to full on retreat. Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from which they had staged the port blockade fell without resistance. Having already heard of the defeat of their comrades, all the opposing soldiers fled the scene.

Thusly did the Six Day War find eminence in world history. It was not just a skirmish over which ship got to come into the harbor on a given day. It was not about rhetoric or political posturing though all of those may have been ongoing. It was not even about territory. Ultimately it was about the preservation of a people. So strong was their resolve that they would rise to the occasion or die.

To the disciples of Jesus that is known as courage, a word rarely used and perhaps rightly so. Courage is rare indeed. It describes the selfless, altruistic, gallant, valiant man or woman whose cause is Right. They are those who would literally die for The Faith. We must first learn that Faith is not subjective but objective; that is it is outside of ourselves. The Faith isn’t designer jeans we put on if we like them and take them off when the fad fades. It stands ever the same; immutable because it is synonymous with God’s character. When we as believers really believe that Jesus is the Christ and the only Christ, we will have a war on our hands. Jesus Himself said, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” (NLT)

Evidence says there have been more Christians killed for The Faith in the past one-hundred years than in all the previous years the Church has existed. Paul wrote, Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men [and women] of courage; be strong. [But] do everything in love.” (NIV) There are those who have learned that there is nothing worth living for unless it is worth dying for. 470 of us died today.

How does Syncretism impinge on you and your Faith in Jesus as the only Christ?

Visit Voice of the Martyrs;

©WalkWay Group, all rights reserved

Steven Blanton

Floatation Device

I never flew at all until the early 80’s. There were a lot of reasons for that. One was that I didn’t want to. The others were as follows; aviophobia, acrophobia, anthropophobia, xenophobia and to some degree claustrophobia with a touch of cleithrophobia. My first flight was a white-knuckles experience. Not that the flight was rough or even uncomfortable. The January air from South Carolina to Kansas was smooth as a decaf Venti soy latte with whip and caramel drizzles. The brilliant blue winter sky with its wandering puffy clouds should have been a picturesque jaunt as we flew the dark inner edge of space. The subtle roar of the powerful jets soothed the weary travels into a listless sedation; many of them truly quiescent. I of course, had the sleepless look of someone plunging into a forty-thousand foot abyss. Except for being scared spitless, I was relaxed. It was just that I was holding on to the armrests with a blood-choking clench that would rival that of King Kong. With the grip I had, there was no way that plane could get out of the sky until I let go. We would still be up there except for the sweet newly wed couple sitting next to me who talked me into letting us land so they could get on with their first year of marriage.

For me the most intriguing part of the flight was actually before the flight began. As we prepared for departure three well trained stewardesses (make that steward-persons) took the isle to help us find the exits and let us all know how to buckle our seatbelts. I was an avid seatbelt wearer while driving so I got it. The end goes into the buckle and you lift to release. And while eyeing the nearest exit I sized up the three people in charge of opening up my door. I gave them a nod of approval. We would all follow the lighted markers in the floor and file calmly out. Then we learned about the oxygen masks that would automatically fall from the compartment overhead in case we should loose cabin pressure. We must help ourselves in an act of altruistic responsibility before we help someone else get their mask on. This was getting serious. “I can’t breathe already”, I though. But some respite from my anxiety came just in time. Mercifully my attention was redirected to the speaker whose disembodied voice announced that, “in the case of a water landing our seat cushion could be used as a “floatation devise”. What a relief! I didn’t even know planes could land on the water. I re-read the instructions in the flap of the seat in front of me to be sure I had this all down. The worst thing about a fall was the landing. This was really about survival.

I have flown many times since, both domestically and abroad, and have seen the illustration countless times in different languages. In every airline the information is nearly exactly the same and the demonstration is quite similar. Whether you fly once or once a week you will be subjected to the liturgic litany of emergency survival. Interestingly few if any pay attention to this life-saving message. I have observed the captive audience during the take off prep “schpeel”. The disinterested are sleeping, talking, or reading. Perhaps they know it all or are message-hardened by the simplistic repetition. Conceivably it may seem the information is useless and no one is going to survive so what’s the point. Perchance they may believe they have a better plan; their own well thought out method of escape.

It strikes me how remarkably alike the response to Truth tends to be. For many of the same reasons people abandon the reasonableness of God’s plan of escape for their own. Having heard it over and again they may turn a deaf ear to the Truth. Though planes rarely crash we all are leaving this life. The ratio is one to one and we all will face the Truth Giver. Our own method of self-salvation will be in every respect inadequate no mater how well we have devised it. The Pluralism and Syncretism of post-modern society is simply a band-aid for the conscience. When it comes to escape and survival, it is best to read the instruction manual and follow it.

How do you feel about this. Or better yet... what do you think?

©WalkWay Group, all rights reserved

Steven Blanton


Vacuum and Lips

As a kid I was always fascinated with the “how and why” of things. Like, why are we opposite when we look into a mirror; and why when you hold a mirror to a mirror do we see hundreds of reflections ad infinitum? How does it do that? And is there an alternate universe back in all of those reflections somewhere? And then there is the universal question troubling all mankind, why does the water swirl down the drain in the same direction every time, Australia notwithstanding? These are some of the heady and weighty, philosophical and physical matters I pondered. Late at night, sometimes I still do.

We are told that where there is a vacuum something is always waiting in the wings to rush in. Apparently it can’t help itself. Being some sort of a law of physics or something, it has to happen that way. I am not even sure there is any effort made not to rush in. Though, there may be substantial effort to leave once in there. Such would be the case for me when “experimenting” with my mother’s floor model Hoover vacuum.

We never had the coveted Electrolux. But for my eight-year-old-mind experiment, the Hoover would do quite nicely. What would happen if I turned it on and put my lips on the hose? Of course I spent the necessary thirty or forty seconds gathering data needed to substantiate this in-depth analysis. With a flick of the switch I was enlightened beyond my wildest expectations. It seems that lips are subject to the same law of physics and vacuums as everything else. They rushed in. Interestingly, you can’t really wail for help when that law of physics is in play either; a result which I didn’t expect from this experiment. Fortunately for me, a vacuum can also suck sense into a very limited juvenile cranium. And it dawned on me that I might want to turn it back off and quash the law that had formed my lips into the shape of an elliptical inner tube.

Thus was another experiment flawlessly executed and the data properly documented and filed away for the good of mankind. It was a Nobel effort on my part though no prize would be forthcoming. Of course as an adult I now know there are plausible answers to all those queries of an eight year old self-pronounced scientist without giving my lips for the cause of science.

From the great mind of no less a scholar than St Augustine do we get perhaps the most succinct statement ever uttered; “All truth is God’s Truth”. Some may be terrified by this statement, almost as if we must hush-up anything said about new discoveries. Or as if there may be something uncovered that would clench the fact that there really is no God. But if we look with any deliberateness at all, we will see the hand of God in every dinosaur bone unearthed. Every layer of silt says, “God was here” with complete and unreserved shamelessness. In my view, the archeologist is doing the work of God by virtually uncovering His finger prints on the earth. Every newly discovered sea-going creature with all its unexpected anomalies audaciously speaks to the magnitude of a God without limits to His creative power. Every time there is natter of nanotechnology it announces the enormity of God, the Inventor of irreducible complexity.

More than “who is God to us”, the real issue here is who is God. When other beliefs and other entities rise to greatness in our world-view they displace God in His rightful situate, becoming a god defacto. This is of course out of alignment with God’s # 1Top Ten; “No other gods; only me” [The Message]. Since knowledge brings Truth then the absence of knowledge is undeniably a vacuum. That vacuous space begs the law of physics be satisfied. The French physicist Blaise Pascal said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator made known through Jesus Christ.” As I have learned; where there is a vacuum something will always rush in to fill it. It is a law of physics and it is a law of the Spirit. Our beliefs must be fixed in the Immutable, Ineffable. Now that we know, we must think before we flick the switch and unexpectedly get sucked in.

©WalkWay Group, all rights reserved
Steven Blanton

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