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“A Sacrifice of Praise” by Joseph Veneroso

“The Sacrifice of Abraham” by Giovanni Benaschi (c. 1666), Musee de Beaux-Arts de Brest (Accession No. 975.28.1) (PD-Art, PD-Age)

“We sacrifice little who offer God
Of our excess prosperity or time
As if a minimum of effort would ever suffice
To cleanse our sins or delay God’s justice…

No, authentic sacrifice demands nothing less
Than…An offering of our deepest longing,
Our dearest possession:  our truest self.

Sacrifice requires something precious die
Not for destruction but for consecration…”

Read more…

Warriors of Peace

“Our Lady of Guadalupe” (16th Century), (PD-Art, PD-Old)

In a south side Chicago basement a group of Hispanic teenagers meets to say the rosary.  The teens call themselves Guerreros de Paz (“Warriors of Peace”).  They are part of a ministry that seeks to provide them with “a safe and welcoming space where they can grow in their faith” [1A].

This is an alternate to gang violence.

” ‘We meet…to try to inspire and move hearts with the grace of God,’ says Alberto Rodriguez, 25, who helped to found this ministry in 2016.  ‘Our vision is to inspire our youth in the neighborhood, so they can be leaders like Christ and to love like Christ.’ “

Read more…

A Thousand, Thousand

“Hamlet and Ophelia” by Mikhal Vrubel (1883), (PD-Art, PD-old-100)

“…and by a sleep to say we end The heartache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, ‘tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished.”

– William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”

Ethics and the Law

The law can be a challenging career, demanding commitment, sacrifice, and fortitude.  What may be even more difficult to live with are the compromises the world will impose on us, in the course of our careers.

As lawyers, we are required to adhere to ethical tenets; as Christians, to moral standards even higher.  There is no question about that.  But if we seek diligently to practice within those boundaries, we will encounter opposition.


We will be forced to fight for resources, yet against what seem to others profitable – if questionable – courses of action.  We will argue over budgets with non-lawyers who do not see the value of our work.

We will confront internal politics that have nothing to do with protecting the clients, and everything to do with protecting private fiefdoms.  We will work exhausting hours to offset staff reductions.  We will risk our jobs, in the often fruitless attempt to convince management to change bad policies.

All this simply to do our jobs as they should be done.

Natural Shocks

The struggle is not, of course, confined to the legal profession.  Men and women of integrity face it in the workplace, everyday.  Defeats are among the “thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to,” as Shakespeare put it.

Which can be deeply discouraging.

But life still has meaning and purpose.  It is not defined by the terms of an employer, but by the terms of an infinite God with whom all things are possible.

Read more…

China’s Cultural Revolution

Image result for IMAGE communist chinese poster targeting religion during cultural revolution

Poster in support of China’s Cultural Revolution.  NOTE:  Crucifix in lower lefthand corner.

From 1966 to 1976, China engaged in a destructive socio-political movement known at the Cultural Revolution [1].  Launched by Mao Zedong (formerly known as Mao Tse Tung), the Cultural Revolution sought to purge China of the remnants of capitalistic ideas.

The Four Old Elements

The Great Leap Forward (an effort to modernize China’s economy) had failed, starving some 14-36 million, and widening the gap between rural peasants and urban professionals [2][3].  This was contrary to the Communist agenda of eliminating social classes.

In response, the so called “four old elements” were attacked:  old customs, old habits, old culture, and old thinking.

Millions Persecuted

Tens of millions were persecuted, publicly humiliated, tortured, and put to death.  Noted scholars and scientists were killed or committed suicide.  The resulting death toll is estimated between 400,000 and 3 million [4A].

Christianity Targeted

Christianity was specifically targeted during the Cultural Revolution [4B].

Pastor Wang Zhiming was among those who suffered for their faith [4C].  His home was pillaged.  The pastor and his family were beaten, vilified, and paraded from one village to another.  Read more…

The Dangers of So Called “Progressive” Christianity

“The term progressive Christian represents a broad collection, ranging from moderates who claim belief in an ‘authoritative’ Bible yet dismiss passages they deem as stumbling blocks, to liberals who barely believe in God [1A].”

The term “Progressive” Christianity has been adopted by a variant of Christianity which seeks acceptance from the culture while rejecting Biblical views on marriage and sexuality.

The Distortion of God’s Word

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another...” (Gal. 5: 17).

The distortion of God’s Word is the basis for all sin.  Since the Garden, human beings have rationalized sinful behavior.

Many factors (not all fully understood, and not all sinful) may influence the way we perceive our gender.  These are thought to range from hormone levels in the womb to child abuse [2].  Our perceptions can, however, be deceptive. 

The Bible is clear.  God intended marriage as the union of a man and a woman (Gen. 2: 24).  This definition is considered disrespectful of those who view gender as fluid and self-determined.  For that reason, it is not acceptable to the culture.

Compromise No Longer an Option

“[A]s tempting as it is for otherwise Biblically faithful Christians to seek ‘middle ground’ with the prevailing culture’s moral positions – most notably on sexual ethics – such a notion is incongruent with a faithful reading of Scripture… [1B]”

Unfortunately, compromise with the prevailing culture is no longer possible.  Christians are seen as backward, intolerant, biased, and hateful for proclaiming Biblical truth.  Conscience be damned. Read more…

Coronavirus Famines

Severely undernourished child in India, Author Don Eddins/CDC, Source CDC/Public Health Image Library (ID No. 1702), (PD as work product of US federal govt.)

Just as the developed world is beginning to recover from the initial onslaught of the coronavirus, famines of catastrophic proportions are predicted in Third World countries [1A].

Across the globe, 135 million people already face starvation, as the result of war and poverty.  The UN has warned that an additional 130 million people are at risk of famine, as a result of the pandemic.

The ten countries at greatest risk are:  Haiti, Venezuela, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sudan and South Sudan.

The factors driving this are the worldwide economic recession (stemming from coronavirus lockdowns), massive reductions in the aid sent home by foreign workers, a collapse of the oil market, and a loss of tourism [1B][2].  Drought, crop failures, and locust swarms have only added to the problem.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles.  These are the beginnings of sorrows” (Mark 13: 8).

[1A and 1B]  CNN, “Corona virus pandemic will cause global famines of ‘biblical’ proportions, UN warns” by Rob Picheta, 4/22/20,

[2]  Star Tribune, “Virus crisis cuts off billions sent to poor around the world” by Gisela Salomon, Sonia Perez, and Michael Weissenstein, 4/7/20,


Robert E. Lee – The Flaw in a Southern Icon

Photo of Gen. Robert E. Lee, Library of Congress (digital ID cwpb.04402) , Author Julian Vannerson, Source (PD as published/registered before 1/1/25)

Much has been written about Robert E. Lee:  why he chose loyalty to his home state of Virginia over loyalty to the United States in the Civil War; whether he should have divided his forces during the Maryland Campaign; whether he regretted having ordered Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg.

Lee acknowledged that it was not until after the “War Between the States” that he truly considered himself an American.  Lee always, however, considered himself a Christian gentleman.

Lee’s blind spot, the flaw in his character, involved slavery [1].

Slavery North and South

Lee was, unfortunately, a man of his time.  Remember that slavery was endemic to the United States by the 19th Century.  North and South benefited from that appalling economic system.

Many Southerners believed that Africans were created for servitude, and “civilized” under the lash.  They used the Bible to justify slavery [2].  Africans were descendants of Noah’s son, Ham, and cursed.  Had Africans not been enslaved and forcibly transported to the Americas, they would not have been Christianized.  So went the reasoning.

Slave literacy was outlawed and slave Bibles heavily redacted, so that the few slaves who could read would not be incited to riot [3][4].

Lee’s Views on Slavery

Not having been brought up on a large plantation, Lee opposed slavery, at least in theory.  In a letter dated December 27, 1856 Lee wrote his wife:

“Slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil in any country…I think, however, a greater evil to the white than to the black race…The doctrines and miracles of our Saviour have required nearly two thousand years to convert but a small part of the human race, and even among the Christian nations what gross errors still exist!”

Lee believed slavery degraded whites, giving rise to corrupt behavior.  In 1857, that belief was borne out when Lee’s father-in-law, George Washington Parke Custis, died. Read more…

The Days of Elijah, Part 2

Stained glass window by Louis Comfort Tiffany depicting John the Baptist, Arlington Street Church, Boston, Author John Stephen Dwyer (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Christians in this day and age have cause for grief as well as joy, for fear as well as celebration.  This Bible Study examines Scripture in light of the tumultuous times in which we live.

Still, we are the voice in the desert crying [1]

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God’ ”
(Isa. 40: 3).

Often, it feels as if we are the voice in the desert, the last remnant praising God.  We long for Jesus’ return in a dry and weary land (Ps. 63: 1).  When He comes again, the last shall be first, and the first last (Matt. 19: 30).  The rough places will be made smooth, and His glory will shine for all to see (Isa. 40: 4-5).

No one but the Father knows the day or the hour, when that will be (Matt. 24: 36).  Meanwhile, we cannot despair (2 Cor. 4: 8).  We are to “defend the poor and fatherless, do justice to the afflicted and needy” (Ps. 8: 3) as long as God gives us strength.

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord!”

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’ ” (Matt. 3: 1-2).

John the Baptist was assigned the task of preparing the way for the Messiah. John was the final prophet to precede the Lord, baptizing Him in the Jordan.  Not long afterwards, John was martyred for his adherence to the truth (Mark 6: 18-19, 27-28).

Jesus said of John the Baptist that from among those born of women there was none greater (Matt. 11: 11).  The Lord added, however, that the least in the kingdom would be greater than John.  Astonishingly, that was a reference to us.  The Lord knew that faith would be a challenge in our day.

Some speculate that John the Baptist may be one of the two witnesses in Jerusalem at the end of days, and Elijah the other.  Whatever their identity, we are told the two witnesses – like Elijah earlier (1 Kings 17: 1) – will be given power “to shut heaven so that no rain falls” (Rev. 11: 6).

Behold He comes riding on the clouds

“ ‘…[H]ereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven’ ” (Matt. 26: 64).

Jesus made this reply, when asked by the high priest whether or not He was the Christ, the Son of the living God.  For these words He was condemned.  Yet we will see them fulfilled when He returns in glory. Read more…

The Days of Elijah, Part 1

Statue of Moses, Library of Congress, Author Carol Highsmith (PD as work product of Federal govt.)

This Bible Study will focus on Scriptural passages with bearing on the present day.  Some are prophetic.  Others are not, but speak to our circumstances, as if penned yesterday.  All offer us assurance and encouragement, in God’s own words.

These are the days of Elijah [1]

“ ‘But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land…’ ” (Luke 4: 25).

Jesus, Himself, spoke of the “days of Elijah,” a time of drought lasting over three years with severe famine the result.  We are not living in the days of the prophet, Elijah, literally speaking.  For many, however, ours is a time of hardship and testing.

Christianity is often ridiculed, and persecution not far off.

While there is widespread drought in our nation as of this writing, the drought for us is as much spiritual as physical [2]. We are bombarded by information, while the concept of truth has been virtually lost.  Though few realize it, we are famished for the Word of God.

Ultimately, Elijah brought rain and revival.  Christians long for the quickening of the Holy Spirit, a downpour turning this beloved nation of ours once again toward God.

Declaring the word of the Lord

“…[T]he word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward’ ” (Gen. 15: 1).

The “word of the Lord” is a phrase used consistently throughout Scripture to designate communication from God.  Patriarchs and prophets received their instruction in this way, then conveyed God’s message to His people.

As Christians in this modern day and age, we, too, have a responsibility to declare the word of the Lord, the Gospel message.  This is the Great Commission (Mark 16: 15).  Our audience is the world which is in desperate need of Salvation.

And these are the days of Your servant, Moses

Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue’ ” (Ex. 4: 10).

Despite our inadequacies, we stand on the verge of great things.  This is not greatness as the world esteems it.  Rather, this is the greatness of the Lord.  His power is beyond measure, His love beyond imagining.  And we have the enormous privilege of being His servants, His adopted children, and making Him known to the world. Read more…

A Voice for the Poor – The Parallels Between Poverty and Abuse

Number in Poverty and Poverty Rate (1959-2017), Author US Census Bureau, Source (PD as work product of federal govt.)

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Prov. 31: 8-9 NIV).

Poverty and abuse have much in common.

The traumatic and repetitive nature of child abuse, and the huge imbalance of power between adult and child, can leave profound psychological scars on victims – scars that may include PTSD, depression, and anxiety to name a few.

Often, victims are left with a fear of authority as adults.  The impact of poverty is surprisingly similar.

Fear of Authority

Their hopes chronically dashed and their pleas for justice routinely ignored, the poor frequently assume further effort on their part will be futile.

People who have been repeatedly downtrodden – deprived of basic necessities, cheated of their rights by abusive landlords and the host of other scam artists who prey on the poor – will forget that they have a voice, and throw in the towel (already exhausted). Read more…