Political Correctness or Political Silliness?

Gracious! Am I really that old? Ancient!

I must be. Whenever I see the initials PC, my first thought is “personal computer.” I recall when an inheritance from my mother enabled my family to buy not one, but two personal computers. That was in 1994. I don’t recall the cost, but it was huge compared to what something comparable would cost today.

And those were desktop units, not laptops. That was before the days of flash drives, but those small “floppy drives” that weren’t at all floppy were still in use. And of course we still needed to use a dial-up modem to reach the Internet.

Nowadays, of course, nobody bothers with the “personal” part of PC, and only a few of us probably think first of computers when we read, see, or hear a reference to PC.

A few days ago, I was passing through Penney’s on the way to walk in the mall when I noticed that only one woman was holding down the fort at a gaggle of registers where two and sometimes even three women normally worked. My first thought was to pleasantly and sympathetically ask this lady if she was manning the fort by herself that day.

Manning? Oh, me! My bad! How thoughtless!

I didn’t say it, though, and I doubt seriously that this lady would’ve thought twice about my of “manning.” Why should she? Was I to have used–or even just thought–“womaning” or “personing”?

I don’t question the need to refrain from using offensive words. I’ve never used the n-word to refer to a black person. I’ve never even thought it, and I get upset if I hear it used.

So, is “African-American” the currently acceptable term, even though not all black people come from Africa? Nor do all of them live in America. How silly to refer to a black person in England as African-American? And if a word isn’t universally true, why should it be used at all?

Don’t get me wrong. I feel a very strong compulsion as a Christian to refrain from offending people knowingly.

But, gracious! Don’t I also recall a time when referring to a homosexual as “queer” was frowned on? Yet now, we have “LGBTQ,” if I recall the letters correctly, and I’ve probably left out some. Yet “fag” is apparently still considered offensive. (The Words with Friends dictionary doesn’t allow its use, even though it has definitions not related to homosexuality.)

Hmm. I’ll never be able to keep up with gay political correctness. Will the (very) old Christmas song referring to “don we our gay apparel” need to be rewritten, along with so many other things?

And don’t even suggest that we have to start referring to God as “She.” I can guarantee that the sperm that united with Mary’s egg to create Jesus did not come from a woman.

Yes, maybe I’m just too old-fashioned. I still believe in calling things what they are, avoiding anything that’s overtly offensive, but not fretting about much of the silliness that falls under the PC umbrella. Yet I’ve caught myself avoiding saying everything I want to say on this subject because I never know when the PC police might be watching and call me down on it.

I also grew up during the time when “you can’t legislate morality” was a popular saying. Designating certain behaviors illegal as one thing, but true morality is a matter of the heart. Or is it? According to the liberal PC-ers and other post-modernists, everyone’s morality would be different since they claim there’s no such thing as absolute truth.

Hmm. I think I’m better off continuing to think of PC as “personal computer.” It’s safer and less frustrating.

What do you think of political correctness? Do you have any particular dislikes? Please share a comment. We can all go down together.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,


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Walking Sticks

I’ve seen enough pictures of the Holy Land to appreciate how important a walking stick must have been in biblical times to anyone traveling by foot. Not only for stability, but maybe even for defense against robbers and wild animals.

I’ve been reading from the Old Testament the past few weeks, and I’m in Exodus now. It’s been interesting to read once more about Moses throwing down his staff–I’m assuming that’s the equivalent of  a walking stick–and having it turn into a lively and rather frightening snake. And then God telling him to pick it up  and turning it back into a staff.

Later on, when the Children of Israel were complaining about the lack of water, God told Moses to strike a rock with his staff, and that made water flow from a rock. If I remember correctly, Moses got in trouble with the Lord later on when he tried to do the same thing on his own initiative and not because God told him to. In fact, wasn’t Moses’ disobedience the thing that prevented him from being permitted to enter the Promised Land when they finally got there?

I’ll bet Jesus used a walking stick, too. He certainly did a lot of moving around from village to village, and He and His disciples had to walk. I often wonder what His walking stick looked like. No matter what kind of wood it was made from, I suspect it had a well-worn look by the last time He used it.

I often use a walking stick, too. Not because I can’t walk without one, but because I can trip over a line in the floor. So it’s especially important for me to use one when walking at the mall or in the neighborhood. In addition to adding stability, it helps me keep my rhythm in walking. Unlike walkers in Jesus’ day, I doubt I’ll need it for defense, but you never know.

Even though a physical walking stick like you see me with in this unusual selfie adds stability to my physical movements, what’s ultimately more important is leaning on the Lord for my overall walk through daily life. David knew what he was talking about when he wrote in Psalm 23, “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Those words of assurance are comforting and good to lean on.

How about leaving a comment?

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,


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Fog and Haze


Life is full of problems, isn’t it?

Sometimes they’re little. Things that irritate or distract us, but aren’t terribly important from the viewpoint of eternity–oversleeping, burning the toast, having to scrape frost off the windshield, bogging down behind slow drivers who’re hogging the fast lane, forgetting one’s wallet.

And that’s just the beginning of the day. The list of other possibilities is endless.

No matter how small those things are, they tend to get us off to a bad start. If we’re realistic, however, we would admit that none of them is apt to change our lives for the worse permanently.

It’s like driving through a patch of fog. We know we’ll soon come to a clear spot and the rest of the fog will eventually burn off and disappear.

Too many people feel like they’re living in a haze rather than simply passing through foggy spots. Whatever they’re enduring seems endless. And hopeless. Whether their problems are financial ones that seem to keep binding them tighter, relationships that make life painful or unbearable, or a persistent physical problem the doctor can’t determine the cause of or treat successfully, those people can’t seem to see beyond the haze surrounding them.

They’re very much like these two Nicaraguan villagers. No matter how far or how fast they peddle, their road is dirt, and peddling through it will always make everything around them appear hazy.

They don’t have the power to change their situation. They can only dream of a ride like this that’s at least a little clearer:

It’s actually the same road, though, and it’s still dirty and dusty. The difference is one of perception.

God views our problems far differently from the way we do. He sees solutions we can’t even dream of.. He doesn’t enjoy watching us suffer. He wants to help.

We just need to reach out to Him in faith.

If solving the problem and removing the haze is His will, He will do so. But sometimes He seems to prefer helping us  deal with the haze rather than providing an immediate solution.

Of course that’s frustrating. But acknowledging that He’s in control can change our perception.

Rather than feeling totally overwhelmed, lost in our haze of worry and uncertainty…


He wants to help us see our situation more clearly:

I can’t imagine any Christian waking up each morning and saying, “Lord, give me more problems so I can depend on You more.” But I hope every true Believer begins the day with a prayer that says, “It’s all in Your hands. That’s all I need to know.”

For some reason, this blog post has been a hard one to write. I hope and pray that it’s made sense and has perhaps even spoken to a personal need. Your comments will be welcome.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,


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In Other Words


Okay, I admit it. As a writer I pay close attention to words. Obsessively close at times.

Everyone’s words. Spoken and printed. Live and recorded. Loving words and hateful ones. Kind words and unfeeling ones. Sacred words and blasphemous ones. Uplifting words and depressing words.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I have several pet peeves regarding words and word usage. Maybe more than several, but several illustrations will suffice.

In a couple of my novels, a character expresses frustration about the use of the word awesome to describe anyone or anything but God. It’s bad enough when non-Christians are describing something pretty insignificant–“This gum is awesome”–but since they would never say God is awesome, their use of that word is simply inappropriate. Or at least a horrible exaggeration.

I have yet to find a, uh, a more awesome way to describe God’s indescribable qualities than to call Him awesome. So when a Christian says God is awesome and also describes other things that way–nothing comes close to being as awesome as God–it strikes me as a sacrilege. What makes it worse is the fact they’ve probably never thought about what they’re doing when they talk that way.

Another of my verbal pet peeves is the word famously.  I’d never heard it used that often until the last several years, although I can’t prove that its use is getting worse. Nonetheless, I keep running into famously–I can’t even stand the way it sounds, and it’s an ugly-looking word in print. Particularly in news articles. Like this line I ran into a few minutes ago, the one that inspired this post:

It follows the famous case of Kate Steinle, who was famously shot to death in San Francisco in 2015 by an illegal immigrant (etc.)

If something is famous, it’s already too well-known to need to be pointed out as being well-known. And the sentence I quoted is an especially horrific example. The “famous case”? Sorry, news writer, but it is an all-too-famous case; you don’t need to tell us that. And then to add “famously shot to death” makes that whole part of the sentence sound redundant.

Enough said. I don’t want to start sounding redundant, too.

While I’m on this soapbox, however, let me share one other word-related pet peeve. Like awesome, this one applies mostly to Christians. I’m not someone who thinks of “darn” as a substitute for “damn” or “heck” as a substitute for “hell.” And I daresay  Christians who use the word “jeez” don’t think of it the way I do.

Nonetheless, I hear jeez as a substitute for Jesus. And it’s not used in praise or adoration, but as a common expression of…whatever.

It offends me so much I’ve asked my wife not to use it when we play Words with Friends. She usually honors my request, even though the ability to get rid of a J and a Z in the same play must be frustratingly tempting.

What about you? Do these pet peeves of mine make sense? Do those things bother you, too? Are there other words that bother you? Your comment will be welcome.

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,


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More about My Paternal Grandparents

bed2    bed   table   table1

If you didn’t read Sunday’s post, you might want to do so before reading this one.

I remember visiting my grandmother in the hospital several times as she grew older, but her decline was–I hate to admit–of no great personal interest to me. I loved going to North Carolina to visit my Williford grandparents, but merely tolerated visits to my Bruner grandmother’s house. Thankfully, my mother’s great-aunt and several of her brothers and their families lived in Richmond, too, so I was able to escape to less severe surroundings periodically.

I wish I could remember Grandmother Bruner with love. Or even with fondness. At least when we reunite in Heaven, we’ll be there as equals. And undoubtedly have more in common.

I remember more things about that house at 2420 Hanover Avenue than I do about my grandmother. Especially one thing which became quite a joke between my parents. When my mother requested that our name be put on the dining room table (a much simpler process than listing individual items in a will) to inherit at the appropriate time. My father had protested. We would never have room for it. It took up most of the dining room at my grandmother’s house. How amazed he was when he learned that it was actually a round table that had eight or ten leaves!

In one of the bedrooms upstairs was the humongous bed everyone affectionately referred to as grandpa’s bed. It had belonged to my great-grandparents and dated back to sometime in the 1800s. My great-grandmother had given birth to her numerous children in that bed. I hasten to add that the mattress was not the original one.

Because of my great-grandmother’s connection to the Women’s Missionary Union (see the previous post), that bed would be of great value to the WMU. But, for now, it’s our guest room bed.

A painting on one of the downstairs walls especially fascinated me. It showed the inauguration of Jefferson Davis as the President of the Confederacy. Specifically–at least this is how I remember it–it depicted one of our ancestors praying the inaugural prayer. At my grandmother’s death it was donated to the Museum of the Confederacy.

I was quite fond of turtles as a youngster, and my father would bring home turtles he rescued from the roads he traveled. One Sunday while we were visiting my grandmother, he brought home a humongous turtle which he had rescued from someone who was beating it (rather unsuccessfully, I should think) with an umbrella. As the turtle expert, I didn’t have to look twice at my new pet to know my loving father had rescued a snapping turtle. One that was certain not to make a good pet.

Unsure what to do with it, we put it in a closed-in concrete area outside the door to the basement at 2620 and blocked the steps at the top. I don’t recall what we used, but it failed to keep the snapping turtle from escaping. I don’t know how many hours I spent looking for the escapee, but I feel certain I covered every inch of that backyard.

I’ve often wondered how shocked people were to spot such a good-sized snapping turtle wandering around one of Richmond’s older residential areas. We never saw it again, though.

I mentioned the round table, but what I remember better than Lizzy’s cooking was the fact that we read Scripture before each meal. I had my favorite–Revelation 5–and I gladly took my turn reading it aloud to my fellow diners.

I’m afraid I was serious when I said I remember the house with more affection than I remember my paternal grandmother. She was not a–how shall I say it?–not a cuddly grandmother. I don’t doubt that she loved me, but I can only wish she had demonstrated it the way my maternal grandparents did.

Perhaps leaving me that entertainment center, which stayed in my room at home for a number of years, was the best way she knew of to say, “I love you.”

Do you have relatives you simply find it impossible to feel much affection for? Perhaps relatives you just can’t find a way to get close to? How about sharing a comment?


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Best regards,

My New Toy

If you’ve been with me a while, you probably realize that I’m fond of gadgets. Especially gadgets that have to do with making or recording music.


For a number of years I’ve been using the Yamaha MD-8 8-track digital recorder pictured above. It’s pretty big–19 inches wide and 16 inches front to back. I won’t bore you by trying to tell you what all of those knobs, switches, and sliders do, but suffice it to say it took months to learn to use it effectively. And I’m sure I never have made full use of everything this recorder is capable of doing.

It’s done a great job, though. It replaced a similar looking Yamaha recorder. But that one was analog–I won’t try to explain that, either–and recorded on cassette tapes. You remember those things?

But the MD-8 recorded on a special digital media that I’m not certain is even still being manufactured now. Although I still have a couple of unused media and could reuse the ones I’ve already recorded on, it’s not an appealing thought. Not when one of those critters only holds about eighteen minutes’ worth of music.

And the MD-8 was getting harder for me to get motivated to use. Not to mention I wonder what I would’ve done if it had ever needed repair.


So when I saw an advertisement a week or two back for a new Tascam eight-track recorder (the DP-008EX, if you’re interested–still the DP-008EX even if you’re not) pictured above. It’s the ultimate in small–nine by five inches–while still providing most of the features of more expensive units. The Yamaha had been somewhere between $500-1000 way back when, while the Tascam was only $150!

It has some built in features the Yamaha doesn’t have, while lacking one or two the Yamaha has. Fair trade off, I think. But–lo and behold!–the Tascam uses SD cards and has a USB connection for uploading to a computer. With the Yamaha, I had to burn songs to a CD to get them to a computer.

And the Tascam has a built in pair of mics that are remarkably good. And playing my guitar directly into one of the inputs sounds immensely better than I could ever manage with the Yamaha.

I admit I’m still learning to use my new toy, but it’s going faster and smoother than with the Yamaha. $150 was a small price to pay for something that seems to be meeting my needs better overall than the Yamaha.

Here’s one final picture: the Tascam sitting on top of the Yamaha to show the comparative size.


Play a song I recorded on the new toy. “Perfect Present” uses seven of the eight tracks. The sound quality of the WAV file is much better than the mp3 file you’ll be listening to here.

What about you? Have you received–or maybe bought for yourself–a new “toy” recently? How about sharing the info in a comment?


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Best regards,

A Christmas Thought


[NOTE: Just a reminder that this post takes the place of this coming Sunday’s.]

As many of you know, I like to walk at the local mall.  I love doing that and enjoy speaking to the variety of other people who’re walking at the same time I do. But I don’t know many of them. Not even their names.

I wanted to do something this Christmas–I believe God inspired this idea–to reach out to them in a non-preachy way about what I feel is the true significance of Christmas. So I composed the following message, which fits nicely on one page, printed copies to take on my Christmas Eve walk, stuffed them in an envelope like the one pictured above, and gave them out. Not just to fellow walkers, but also to security guards and custodians I’m especially fond of.

Here’s what it says:

Merry Christmas from a fellow mall walker!!!

As we smile and say hi to one another, I frequently think about something Charles Dickens said in A Tale of Two Cities: “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.” Very few of us actually know one another, no matter how friendly and pleasant we seem while walking. In truth, most of us don’t even know one another’s names, much less anything more important.

Although I can’t solve that problem, I want to share something I think is important. I believe Christmas means much more than giving and receiving gifts. Not that any of us could match the Gift God gave in sending His only Son into the world for our benefit.

Although I wrote this poem almost forty years ago, I believe it’s still relevant. I not only hope you enjoy it, but that it will speak to you about the real meaning of Christmas.

I’ll bet You were some Proud Father
The day Your Son was born on Earth!

Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday
When Mary began her labor in the stable?
You were there with her through it all,
Giving comfort and encouragement
With the same Perfect Spirit of Love
That Mary was accustomed to from You.

 When she contracted, You suffered with her.

 Though You realized what trauma Your
Son was going through in being born,
You knew it wasn’t right to interfere;
You had to let things happen as if
This Babe would be like just any other.

You watched the process You had created.
But I’ll bet you never felt so involved before;
You were actually watching Part of Yourself
Be born for the very first time,
And You monitored the whole non-sterile
Situation and saw that it was good –
Good for a world that just couldn’t seem
To understand or accept You any other way.

It’s no wonder You sent Your angels out
To deliver the Birth announcements in person!

 The merriest of Christmases to you in the true spirit of the Season!

Best regards,

You know what? I don’t know much about most of my blog readers, either. But I also want you to experience the true meaning of Christmas. So let me also wish you the merriest of Christmases in the true spirit of the Season!

Please share a comment with a Christmas thought of your own.


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Best regards,