Monday, December 26, 2016

Prairie Point, Christmas 2016










Sunset, New Year's Eve, 2016
Our new retirement cottage in the Ozark Mountains




Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What if it’s true? 


What if God is Love, and so awesome and unfathomable that, despite all our sins and shortcomings, He’s able to love each and every one of us, like we’re the only one?  Wouldn’t that be cool!

Monday, December 19, 2016

So that I repented, counted my blessings, and backed away from the edge


This time of year, I’m almost always struck by the parallels between my life and that of Jimmy Stewart in his role in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’ve had much the same triumph, much the same joy, and much the same failure and debilitating despair. Probably most noteworthy are the many occasions when my Heavenly Father, in some form not unlike Clarence, has interceded on my behalf, so that I repented, counted my blessings, and backed away from the edge.  SC   

Warmth and resilience invariably follow winter.


There are those among us who care deeply about God’s Creation and all its creatures great and small. These people rejoice when mankind exercises responsible stewardship, and they’re inclined to succumb to discouragement when it does not. During prolonged seasons of despair and disappointment, it’s helpful to remember that, surely as darkness must invariably give way to light, and winter inevitably, to spring; goodness, justice, and enlightenment will inexorably prevail over greed, apathy and ignorance. Ice will thaw; snow will melt, and spring will once more triumph, with the warmth and resilience that invariably follow winter. SC

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas is a feeling in our chest.



Christmas is a feeling in our chest,
A sense of being sheltered and caressed,
A memory that makes our spirit soar,
An ache that leaves us somehow wanting more;
Bitter sweet recollections of a day,
Of innocence and faith and youthful play;
Scenes of family outings in the snow, 
Cherished mornings ‘round a Christmas tree aglow,
Priceless memories of innocence we’ve known,
Before we ventured out in life alone;
When each day found us carefree, safe and glad,
And evening found us home with home with Mom and Dad.
We strive today to recreate a time,
When hope was strong and zest for life sublime,
When childlike faith assured tomorrows joys,
And needs were met with simple gifts and toys.
Perhaps tomorrow’s hopes can best be met,
By casting off our feelings of regret,
And reaching out to others who still care,
And comprehend the passion that we share;
Those who recognize that we’ve been blessed,
And embrace that hopeful longing in our chest.  SC






Sunday, December 11, 2016

Placerville, Ca aka old Hangtown, at The Round Tent Store 1912

This photo was almost certainly taken from the balcony of the Carey House Hotel.

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the present, and the Future.  The spirits of all three will strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach me. 
“A Christmas Carol” Charles Dickens

Saturday, December 10, 2016

TATTERED STARS


Her stripes were worn and faded,

Her fabric torn and frayed.

Tattered stars hung loosely now,

Weakened by old battles and decayed.



Still, she hung with dignity,

Despite her ragged state.

Her very fabric promised hope,

Although the hour was late.



Just then, as dawn was breaking,

A rustling in the trees,

A disturbance in the morning mist

And a cool, refreshing of breeze.



The flash of nearby lightening,

Pulses quickened by the thrill,

While meadows shook with thunder

And a deluge took the hill.



With that, Old Glory caught the wind,

Unfurled, as on the march.

Despite the hail that tore her hems,

She took the field and stretched out stiff as starch.



And those who saw this marveled,

And recalled old glory’s youth.

And hearts swelled near to bursting,

Quickened by old loyalties and truth.



And every soul saluted,

While new hope replaced old fears,

And each heart pledged allegiance,

And sealed their pledge with gratitude and tears.



SHANNON THOMAS CASEBEER

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

That's my hope this Christmas





SC
This time of year, I almost always feel a sense of urgency to pen a Christmas letter that captures like never before the essence of the season.  The written word has been around a long time.  The likelihood of mixing and matching words sufficiently as to arrive at something entirely new, innovative, and never before achieved in the long, celebrated history of the medium, is about as likely as discovering the one true Santa emerging from your hearth on Christmas morning. For most of us, our most enchanting Christmas memories are from our youth.  To fully experience the magic and majesty of Christmas, it’s almost essential to approach it with a childlike faith.  The older we get, the more difficult that becomes.  In order to recapture the true essence of Christmas, one must do it with a minimum of words, from the purest and most youthful depths of our heart.  That’s my hope for each and every one of us this season, that the spirit of Christmas can purify, cleanse and relieve us of our years of apprehension, disillusionment and animosity, and allow us once more to experience the magical Christmas of our earliest memories; pure, simple and unadulterated; a Christmas awash in the warmth, joy and unconditional fellowship that comes of an innocent heart and a childlike faith. Dear God, help us once more to approach, Christ, Christmas and each other, with open arms, forgiving hearts, and the incorruptible innocence of our youth.

The entire universe and beyond, forever


The Bible indicates that, prior to His resurrection, Christ was a quiet, unassuming young man, who promised to intercede on our behalf, at our request, with the awesome, incomprehensible force that conceived of and holds sway over the entire universe and beyond, forever.  And all we need do in return is to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.  I’m going to risk it. SC

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

If we’ll each just lower our fists and raise our candle.


It’s been a rugged year.  Don’t take my word for it.  Ask anyone.  Like Old Glory herself, our bonds and our brotherhood have become a bit frayed around the edges.  Despite our differences, we’ll all wrap up 2016 together.  That’s a good way to begin 2017.  There’s not one single issue facing our country or the world today, that can’t find peaceful resolution through reason, cooperation, and compromise. We’re not going to agree on everything, but if we truly seek God’s will, and address each issue with a spirit of mercy and a willingness to promote peace, liberty, and justice for all, {as in everybody} there’s nothing that we can’t achieve together. There’s a brighter day ahead, if we’ll each just lower our fists and raise our candle.  SC

Monday, December 5, 2016

Regardless of our circumstances, hope is a wise investment.  Hopes dividends invariably exceed its cost. 


During all the years since I first began working my acreage, back in the early ‘80s, I’d hear Dad pull cautiously from his yard on his four-wheeler, and putter down the dirt road toward my home.   As he approached the little wood frame house that he and I had built, he’d spot me in the yard and break out in his customary grin. That always made me smile and count my blessings. This afternoon, as I sat on our porch contemplating the approach of another Christmas, I heard a four-wheeler puttering down the lane.  My heart immediately leaped and quickly sank.  I knew it wasn’t Dad.  Dad passed away back in 2010. Still, I listened intently as the four-wheeler passed our gate. I couldn’t help but wish it was my dad. My head knew better, but my heart still hoped. According to the Bible, three things abide forever: hope, faith and love.  Regardless of our circumstances, hope is a wise investment.  Hopes dividends invariably exceed its cost.  SC

Saturday, December 3, 2016

If that makes me a liberal, so be it.


Back in the mid fifties, even I was a youngster.  Following a horrendous spinal tap and the heart stopping diagnosis of Poliomyelitis, I spent several weeks convalescing at Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo California. During a two week confinement in a hospital with dozens of other crippled children, a five year old has worlds of time to pray. One night, all alone in my hospital room, scared half to death and miles and miles from home, I called out to Jesus from the depths of my little soul.  Days later the hospital ran some tests and told my folks to collect me and take me home. When I finally tugged my cowboy boots back on and Dad and Mom headed for home with me in tow, I began a walk with Jesus that has lasted to this day. When my family and I arrived in Missouri in 1978, I became a member of Dry Creek General Baptist Church, where I was baptized under the bridge at Indian Creek in 1979.  Twenty years later, in 1998, I became a member of Pomona Christian Church, where I maintain my membership today. I live in the Ozarks now.  Suffice it to say, the majority of my church family are lifelong, staunch conservatives. I love those folks dearly, and for the most part they tolerate me.  As someone who has considered Jesus Christ my personal Savior for almost sixty years, I believe in doing justly, loving mercy, walking humbly with my God, and enthusiastically supporting the rights of others to walk with theirs. I believe freedom is all about personal choices. I cherish my own freedom. I make my own choices, and I passionately support the freedom and choices of others.  If that makes me a liberal, so be it.  I prefer to consider myself an American.  SC

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I realize that loving some of us is a tall order


Would you like to celebrate this Christmas season by experiencing the peace, reassurance and joy once provided by your youthful faith? As children, we approach Christmas in the unwavering belief that we are loved. It’s that belief that strengths our faith and fills the season with joyous expectation. As adults, the uncertainties inherent in life gradually take a toll on that assurance. It’s increasingly difficult to believe that we are loved. Only through faith can we reclaim that assurance. The Bible tells us if we would have God’s boundless affection, there’s but one condition: We must love God without restraint and each other without exception. I realize that loving some of us is a tall order, but considering the reward, I suspect it’s worth the effort. And, just between you and me, God doesn’t expect us to be 100% successful.  He only requires that we make an honest effort. I intend to try harder.  I suggest you do likewise.  Season’s Greetings. SC

Monday, September 19, 2016

Note to self:

Each and every day, each and every one of us, regardless of our circumstances, has a choice.  We can squander our time fingering old welts, second guessing past decisions, and tormenting ourselves over the poor choices of others; or we can embrace a new day brimming with opportunities for doing justly, loving mercy, and building foundations for a bright new tomorrow.  Time is precious.  Choose wisely. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

No one is a duckbilled platypus on purpose.


This ol’ world is home to an endless variety of colorful creatures, and while it’s true that our choices will influence what we become, no one is a duckbilled platypus on purpose. Be kind and count your blessings.  SC

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fulfillment, Potential and limitless Hope


SC 1959
Once upon a time, almost everyone was young and optimistic. A few short months from now, Lord willing, I’ll celebrate my 65th birthday.  Like almost everything else, getting old has advantages and disadvantages. There’s much we can learn from old people.  Most of my dearest friends are old people.  I spend several hours every week visiting old people.  It appears to me as though the biggest downside to getting old may well be the disillusionment that comes from years of experience, hard learned lessons, and the inevitable disappointments that seem inherent in life. If you discuss tomorrow’s challenges with old people, nine out of ten, are inclined to deny them, ignore them, or blame someone. If you’re looking for encouragement, discuss the future with the youth who prepare to inherit it. Where old people find disillusionment and failure, young people see opportunities to learn from past mistakes. Young people see a world where the long sought goals of past generations are realized every day, and previously unimaginable discoveries lie in wait. Young people see fulfillment, potential and limitless hope. Value experience, learn from the past, and cherish those whose efforts made yesterday possible, but celebrate youth, rejoice in hope, and fortify yourself with visions of a bright tomorrow. SC 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

If you care about your children, grandchildren and generations to come, or if you believe this planet was created by a God who demands stewardship and accountability, you may want to give this some thought.


All this stagnation, polarization, indignation and deadlock have been great fun, and I hate to be a killjoy, but we have serious issues that threaten to ruin our fun. Nobody wants to hear this, but that does not make it less true.  This planet’s human population is currently growing at a rate of over 1.16% annually, which is an increase of nearly 80 million new mouths to feed every year. Regardless of what you would prefer to ignore or deny, we face a future in which those numbers will become increasingly unsustainable.  Food and water will be in increasingly short supply, as will all other natural resources.  At the same time, most scientists agree our planet’s ocean levels will continue to rise, threatening major cities and driving their populations inland.  In conjunction with these challenges, our weather is likely to become increasingly volatile and unpredictable, with floods and droughts making life difficult and affecting our ability to raise crops to feed the growing population. So here’s something for you to think about. This fall we will either elect people who are prepared to address these challenges and work together for solutions before its too late, or we will elect people who either deny the existence of these challenges entirely, or evidently believe our species incapable of addressing them in an adult, responsible way. Sadly, it could go either way. Personally, I plan to vote for people who have proven themselves capable of behaving like adults and working together toward a bright future during increasingly challenging times. If you care about your children, grandchildren and generations to come, or if you believe this planet was created by a God who demands stewardship and accountability, you may want to give this some thought. SC

I’ve posted things like this before and I generally have second thoughts and delete them. The fact is however, there are many people who have their bowels all in an uproar today because of some candidates’ deleted emails, or another candidate’s tax issues, or whether between them the couple next door may have too many or too few testicles to suit them. If they walked a mile in the shoes of the growing number of people all over the world who go to bed hungry or thirsty or homeless, they’d quickly change their attitudes and their priorities.   






Thursday, August 25, 2016


The poster child for everything un-American


I just heard someone who is very clearly the poster child for everything offensive, inappropriate, fraudulent, intolerant, inflammatory and un-American; call someone who has dedicated her entire life to tolerant, charitable, evenhanded causes, a bigot. I’m sorely tempted to address this statement, but for anyone who has been lucid and living on planet earth in recent years, that should not be necessary. SC

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


When I was a little boy, there were frequent occasions each day when Mother would apply firm but gentle pressure to my ear, lead me to a quiet and secluded spot, and suggest a timeout. During these special times I was encouraged to reconsider my actions and let Mom know when I was confident I could be a better boy.  Now, in the early stages of my second childhood, I find a thoughtfully administered regimen of supervised timeouts once more essential to an acceptable and well-balanced behavior. SC

As a young man, it seemed I could get away with anything with absolute impunity. I could clean my plate at Grandma’s house, after a Thanksgiving feast, and still have room to singlehandedly devour an entire pie. Back in college, my friends and I could order several large pizzas and an entire pitcher of beer, and I’d match my cohort’s mug for mug and leave the table with practically no assistance. Back in elementary school, my buddies would consistently do detention for slipping a rubber snake in the teacher’s desk or inadvertently penning an answer to their wrist prior to a test, or the slightest infringement of acceptable scholastic behavior, and I could disturb the entire class with antics that would disrupt the senate, and almost inevitably wink at the teacher and come away unscathed. I seemed the exception to almost every rule. Sadly it seems the test of time has expunged my exemption. These days a sliver of mincemeat pie can bring on Narcolepsy, and my very best efforts at marital bliss entirely discombobulate the Misses. It’s as though she’s entirely immune to my boyish charm.  SC     

Monday, August 22, 2016

Page views for the month

EntryPageviews
United States
531
Russia
276
Portugal
20
France
15
China
13
Germany
11
Ukraine
9
United Kingdom
6
Switzerland
3
Latvia
3

Friday, August 19, 2016

Stay calm and breathe people.


Thanks, but no thanks. I generally do just fine until I go to the Facebook news feed or the National news, and am overwhelmed and exasperated by all the foolishness.  You know what?  This country is just fine.  We have challenges, but we’re entirely capable of meeting them. We have experienced people in this country who are knowledgeable, qualified, and entirely capable of stepping up and doing everything necessary to meet our country’s needs. Now as always, we have passionate lunatics on the far right and left who delight in stirring the pot and drawing the rest of us into their delusional conspiracy theories and dire forecasts of gloom and doom. Fortunately for us and the world, our country is also blessed with a vast, moderate middle, who, barring something unforeseen and very unlikely, will turn out on election day and vote to continue pursuing our country’s time-honored goals: forming a more perfect Union, establishing and ensuring justice and domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity. I fully intend to stay informed and vote, and there may well be occasions when I take the bait and respond to the foolishness, but I’m increasingly confident that sanity will prevail in the fall, and that our Nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all, will continue its proud tradition as a shining city on hill and a reliable beacon of Freedom for the world, and that, despite a remarkably colorful and entertaining election process,  government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.  Stay calm and breathe people. We’ll all be okay if we just stick together. SC 

Comprehension is all about perspective; perspective is all about the big picture, and the more one travels the bigger the picture gets. SC


While the potential for joy in the future should never be underestimated, for most of us, there comes a time when our best hope for contentment is in reconciling ourselves to what is, and celebrating what was. SC




Monday, August 15, 2016

There are those who would have us believe that the religious liberty clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution means that they are at liberty to tell others what to believe. In truth, in means exactly the opposite.


The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” As enshrined in the First Amendment, religious freedom includes two complementary protections: the right to religious belief and expression and a guarantee that the government neither prefers religion over non-religion nor favors particular faiths over others. These dual protections work hand in hand, allowing religious liberty to thrive and safeguarding both religion and government from the undue influences of the other.

Monday, August 8, 2016

As a young man...


As a young man, I tended to envision time as a vast, unlimited resource. Time it seemed was an inexhaustible sea.  Now in the autumn of my life, each hour is increasingly precious, and I thirst for each minute as it drips away from an alarmingly finite pool. 



I recall puzzling as a young man, at the inclination of so many old folks to forsake the present and dwell upon the past, sometimes cutting all ties to here and now.  These days, whiling away the long, tedious afternoons, in a dreary house that’s all but abandoned, plagued with pains and tormented by my prospects, I drag the rocker up by the stove, stare into the coals, and soak myself in a warm bath of memories.



I remember sitting by a crackling fire, high in the Sierra Nevada’s, and listening to the ill-tempered Jerseys filing past, with their cowbells clanking, their babies bawling, and the old bull curling his lip and looking for work. I remember standing on the rough plank sidewalk, outside the Ivy House, inhaling the aroma of grilled ribs sizzling, over Manzanita coals, and watching the massive freight wagons lumber by, with their oxen lowing, their hames bells jingling, and the iron-clad rims of hickory spoke wheels smashing the gravel to dust, beneath their cumbersome tonnage of crocks of butter and barrels of fragrant cheese. I remember believing that my whole life would be a long and wondrous adventure.  And it was. 



Closing my eyes with the sun on my face and the patter of rain on canvas, my memory reflects a shimmering image of overnight outings long ago, when summer was perennial and I was a barefoot kid.  I remember the goose bumps and satisfying shivers as Grandma prepared me for bed, and washed my summer-hardened feet from the rocky banks of a brisk, babbling brook.  



I recall my Granddad’s twinkling eyes and his pleasant, raspy chuckle, as I hugged his neck and he rubbed his whiskery chin against my face.  Here on the hill where I raised my family, I revisit my time of parenthood, and recall priceless memories of my own mom and dad, ages ago when life seemed simple and childlike faith assured tomorrows joys. Treasure your memories, keep them fresh and never take them for granted.  Even our memories can fade with the harsh glare of time. SC

Sunday, August 7, 2016

My conscience is clear.


With the exception of my church membership and some volunteer work, I am essentially a hermit, and growing increasingly reclusive by the day. I have very little fear of being disenfranchised by anyone as the result of candidly expressing my views. I have no agenda beyond promoting what I believe is in the best interests of the America that I know and love, and unequivocally denouncing what I believe is not. Regardless of the election results of 2016, my conscience is clear.  How is yours?  SC

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Our electorate today is largely comprised of two distinct groups of constituents: old people, who miss the world for which their lives prepared them, and young people, preparing a world in which they hope to live. They are two entirely different worlds. One must increase. One must decrease. My money is on the youthful generation. SC

Am I my brother’s keeper?


"The phrase “my brother’s keeper” occurs in the context of the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-9. After the Lord God had expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for their disobedience, Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy that God had found Abel’s sacrifice acceptable, but He had rejected Cain’s. After the murder, the Lord, knowing full well what had happened, asked Cain where Abel was. Cain’s response was "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"

There is a grain of truth in this brazen lie, despite the surly response Cain offers to the God who created him. While no one is the absolute “keeper” of others in that we are not responsible for everyone’s safety when we are not present, every man is his brother’s keeper in that we are not to commit violent acts against them or allow others to do so if we can prevent it. This sort of “keeping” is something God rightfully demands of everyone, on the grounds of both justice and love. But Cain’s reply indicates a total lack of any kind of feeling for another human being—not to mention the absence of brotherly love—and the overriding presence of the kind of selfishness which kills affection and gives rise to hatred."
Our churches are no longer capable of meeting the needs of today’s overwhelming crisis of poverty and deprivation. If these needs are to be met, they must be met by we the people, in our capacity as a government of, by, and for its people. SC

Taken for the most part from an Internet source. SC

TWO SIMPLE TRUTHS:


In the United States of America, people who live frugal, law abiding lives, reporting day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, and decade after decade, to the very best job they’re able to find and perform, should have decent housing, affordable health care, and healthy food for their families. And they should not lose everything they own when they’re no longer able to work.  And here’s another simple truth: People who don’t believe this are not following Christ.  SC

Friday, August 5, 2016


I’m not an economist, but the problem with our economy today is not rocket science. Our difficulties today are not the result of a broken system.  They are the result of greed, corruption and abuse. Our economy today suffers from the effects of trickledown economics and those who support and sustain it. Its supporters argue that allowing corporations and the very privileged among us to absorb the vast majority of our country’s wealth will result is that currency trickling slowly down to those who perform the labor. Rarely do those who perform these tedious, backbreaking tasks enjoy the fruits of their labors. The vast majority of wealth created by their efforts goes directly to the spoiled aristocrats who sprawl on their ever-widening posteriors, collecting their perks, thumbing their noses, and enjoying what others provide through daily toil. Every budget, whether it is household, state, or federal, relies on cash flow in order to function. Because of the ineffectiveness, greed and abuses of trickledown economics, we have no cash flow today.  The vast majority of this country’s wealth flows directly to the top and stays there. This fall we have a choice.  We can continue enabling the apathy, contempt and indifference of the privileged class, or we can support those who advocate fair and equitable policies intended to reward those who actually support our system.  SC

Personally, I rarely consider voting for candidates who show no capacity for reason, cooperation and civility during their campaign. If they can’t be gracious and positive as a candidate, the likelihood that they will prove productive while in office is slim and none. SC

Thursday, August 4, 2016

It is not the election results of 2016 which will determine our country’s future.


While it is not my intention to underestimate in any way the importance of this year’s watershed election, the future peace and prosperity of our great nation may well rely as much on our response to the results, as on the results themselves. Regardless of the partisan balance of power in 2017, the future of the United States of America remains in the hands of we, the people. It is not the election results of 2016 which will determine our country’s future, but the extent of our resolve, devotion and allegiance to our grand, old flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.  SC

Hang in there, folks. We can do this.


An ol' Roger Miller tune suggests:

"Everything changes a little as it should,
Good ain't forever and bad ain't for good."

I'm still convinced there are better days ahead. If we just line up single file, just like kids in school, we'll each have someone leading our way, and someone to back us up.
Hold hands. Be polite. No pushing.  

Monday, August 1, 2016

Anyone who is unable to comprehend these basic concepts should never be elected to office.


OUR GOVERNMENT IS NOT THE PROBLEM

Irreconcilable differences may be reason for divorce in a marriage of two unhappy or seemingly unsuited individuals. In a diverse and multifaceted society, irreconcilable differences are inherent and almost unavoidable.  Irreconcilable differences are not the problem with our government.  Irreconcilable differences are why it’s absolutely necessary that we preserve government. In a democratic, self-governing society, government is the only way to reach equitable, peaceful, mutually acceptable resolutions to what might otherwise represent irreconcilable differences. Because of America’s Constitution and all the other documents which provide and preserve the rules and regulations of our democracy, we have no irreconcilable differences. We achieve consensus and peaceful coexistence through negotiation, compromise and the never-ending efforts of a free, self-governing people.  SC     

Gridlock occurs when we elect individuals who are unable or unwilling to negotiate and compromise. Anyone who is unable to comprehend these basic concepts should never be elected to office.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

I don't believe Christ would Be Pleased.


My Dad’s family has lived in the Ozark Mountains of south central Missouri since the 1880s. I’ve lived here myself since 1978.  My dad, my children, and my grandson are all native Missourians.  My mom’s family arrived in California during the gold rush, and I was born and raised in the heart of California’s historic Mother Lode.  While I will always be proud of my heritage as a native Californian, I’m equally proud of my Missouri heritage.  Since my arrival in the Ozarks, I’ve been a member of two church families, one for 20 years and one for 18. I’ve been a faithful, baptized believer and follower of Christ for almost 40 years. Some time back my mother approached me with a heavy heart to inform we that she had been notified, by someone for whom I had felt a good deal of affection for many years, that I had been largely written off by my church family, because my views were not sufficiently conservative as to make me acceptable in polite, Christian society. Suffice it to say, that was hurtful on many levels. Sadly, I believe this lamentable attitude is rampant in organized religion today. I believe it is widespread, and frequently sanctioned and encouraged. And I believe it is fundamentally detrimental to our families, our communities, our churches, and the entire United States of America. I suggest that all those who consider themselves people of faith give the state of their Christian outreach some serious thought.  I don’t believe Christ would be pleased.  

To me, the saddest aspect of the polarization which currently threatens our unity as a nation is the fact that much of it stems from the effect on well intentioned believers of the pathological hatred and the detestable prevarications of a small, well organized group of bigoted, unchristian insurrectionists, who are in it purely for the notoriety and financial gain. SC

Friday, July 29, 2016


I marvel everyday at the increasingly angry voices of those who evidently believe that “religious liberty” means they’re at liberty to tell others what to believe. What in the world are they thinking? Religious liberty, as provided in our Constitution by the very first amendment to that Constitution, does not mean that you have the right to impose your beliefs on others.  The Establishment Clause does not allow the government to support one religion more than any other religion. The government also cannot say a religion or a god is true. This is often described as "separation of church and state", where "state" means "the government". It also does not allow the government to establish a national religion. It allows people to debate religion freely without the federal government of the United States getting involved. It means you have the freedom to believe whatever you choose, as long as your practices infringe in no way on the rights of others to do likewise.

Clasped hands, hope and cooperation, or clenched fists, despair and disintegration, it’s that simple.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

One of these choices reflects a benevolent God.


Each and every day whether it’s an election year or not, we each make a choice. We choose whether our actions each day will be positive, openhanded efforts to lift others up and move forward together in faith; or self-serving, negative efforts turning others away with a doubled fist. One of these choices reflects a benevolent God. One does not. SC

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lots of people are weary, discouraged, and tired of being left behind. As a result, they’ve succumb to fear and fear mongering. They’re prepared to give up and turn back. Turning back is not now and never been an option. There’s no need to take this country back or question our greatness. It’s time to step out in faith, recognizing and sharing our many blessings, lifting up those who’ve fallen, encouraging those who strive to move us forward, and raising the torch of Liberty to light the way to a brighter, more prosperous future for all. SC

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A LITTLE SCRAP OF SCRIPTURE


As a follower of Christ for over sixty years, I’ve probably referred to this little scrap of scripture a thousand times, in posts and silent prayer.  I shared it today with a friend who’d never heard it. Forgive me if I share it here again.  As Christians, we’re encouraged to be prepared to share, if asked, what one must do to become a follower of Christ. Sadly, many professed Christians will answer this simple and sincere question by producing a staggering list of demands and requirements that would crush the hopes of even Christ’s apostles. The Bible answers this age-old question succinctly, authoritatively, and with little room for confusion or debate, in Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God?”  It’s that simple. Seek these things in sincerity and prayer, and a walk with Jesus Christ will surely follow. SC  




Friday, July 15, 2016

Our voting populace IS the government.


Regardless of their source of inspiration, all recorded/printed religious materials, including the Bible, are man-made documents, and subject to interpretation and misinterpretation by well intentioned people. Our enemies are not our fellow citizens, but those who would subjugate, divide and embitter us for their own partisan purposes and financial gain. Neither is our enemy “the government”. Politicians and elected officials are empowered, emboldened and elected by those whose partisan views they represent.  Our voting populace IS the government, and it’s most effective when we each stay informed and vote. SC

Elements of the daily barrage of political ads suggest there is some confusion regarding religious liberty. Religious liberty does not mean you have the right to impose your religious views on others. It means exactly the opposite. It means you’re at liberty to believe what you choose, as long as your practices don’t infringe on the rights of others. SC

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The goal has always been an extraordinarily diverse but generally harmonious union. This, even in the midst of today’s deliberately polarized dissension, is achievable.


The greatest thing about being an American citizen with a long-established heritage, is having roots from all over the world, and living in a society that recognizes, promotes, and celebrates that diversity, while insuring equality and freedom for every citizen. Freedom is every heart’s desire and every just government’s goal, but prior to our Constitution, liberty was a mighty illusive concept. My ancestors risked everything they had in their quests for liberty, because, in case after case, their homelands had very little appetite for religious freedoms.  In far too many cases, Kings, Queens, and powerful religious institutions attempted to dictate religious beliefs and enforce their own narrow morality on society. Bigotry, intolerance and bondage were generally the result, and the freedom we enjoy today was little more than a dream. Even today, in the 21st century, in a country recognized around the world as the land of liberty, there are those who, given the opportunity, would deny the right to personal choices and forcibly impose their religious beliefs on others.  If you feel compelled to spread the good news of your gospel, by all means do so, but even in Scripture, believers were never called to forcibly inflict their religious interpretations on others. They were called to go out as sheep among wolves, to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with their God. They were called to share the good news of salvation through a loving, forgiving Savior, and then leave people be to make their own personal choices. Our goal in America is not now and has never been, a society in which we are each fundamentally alike and of one accord.  There has never been any expectation that we’d each become alike. The hope has always been that, through a democratic government and its resulting system of justice, we would honor each other’s personal freedoms and peacefully coexist. The goal has always been an extraordinarily diverse but generally harmonious union.  This, even in the midst of today’s deliberately polarized dissension, is achievable, through civility, compassion, rational dialogue and the joint pursuit of the time-honored goal of our Constitution: the mutually beneficial amalgamation of all our diverse populace and their beliefs, into one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  SC


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

YOU CHOOSE


I guess it all comes down to this. Which America do we prefer?
America the gated community, walled off, apathetic and suspicious; or,
America the city on a hill, a thousand points of light, powerful, dependable, compassionate defender of truth, justice, liberty and the planet? Faith and stewardship are expensive, but rewarding. You choose. SC

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

AM I HAPPY?


Why, I’m happy as a bug on the bow of a boat.  Have you ever watched a grasshopper on the bow of a boat, when that ol’ steamer is churning along at a good clip, the hull is pounding the cobalt blue water into a fine spray, and the shore is sailing by? And that ol’ grasshopper is clinging to the railing for dear life, his little antennae are trailing in the wind, his molars are all catchin’ sunlight, his eyes are glazed over and glistening in grateful satisfaction and the tobacco juice is streaming from the corners of his mouth and collecting in his whiskers and his ears?  Now that’s happy!  SC

Sunday, July 10, 2016

At age 64 it occurs to me, we spend our first thirty years thinking about our future, our next thirty thinking about our past, and our last years wondering what the hell we were thinking! SC

The goals of a true patriot are, or at least should be, synonymous with those of a person of true faith: the pursuit of justice, salvation and equity, through mercy, restraint and humility. SC

The most telling measure of a nation’s heart is the compassion and the unity of its people.


Clearly America’s collective conscience, as reflected by our chosen leaders, requires constant scrutiny and surveillance. Even in a democracy of, by and for its people, justice and equality are only as reliable as the conscience of that people.  Even America’s best intentioned efforts are subject to both our goodness and our greed. Freedom is not a privilege to be taken lightly. Freedom is a right and a responsibility, a perishable torch to be diligently tended and faithfully past along. Freedom burns within our hearts, ignited by our founding fathers, and it falls to us to keep that flame alive. America’s most trusted and time-honored institutions are only as righteous as the hearts of our citizens; our most pious leaders only as just as the collective conscience of their constituents, and the most telling measure of a nation’s heart is the compassion and the unity of its people.  SC  

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The road not taken


For many of us, if we slip away and sit quietly, unmolested by the world and its demands, somewhere, deep in the still, shaded corners of our subconscious, barely audible, like an unspoken whisper in the wind, lurks the siren call of the road not taken. Generally, we dare not listen, but once in awhile, when nobody’s watching, we surrender our thoughts to memories temptress, and slip into a past we never knew. Does that ever happen to you?  SC


Keep the US strong and united


Due to all variety of fears, discontentment and disenfranchisement, our country today is a tinderbox, just waiting for a spark. Don’t be that spark.  Don’t be one more tear in our nation’s fraying fabric. Be one more stitch. Be the thread that binds a tattered seam. Be the hope, faith and charity that down through the ages has celebrated freedom and advanced American ideals. Honor our veterans, be worthy of their sacrifice, cherish your liberty, and keep America strong. SC   

Friday, July 8, 2016

A powerful force for good


Hatred is extremely contagious and too often spreads exponentially through people whose misplaced passions infect other victims and result in a virtual plague. We suffer today from an epidemic of fear mongering and phobias, fanned deliberately into a major conflagration for the financial gain of a few unscrupulous entities. Our society has been deliberately inflamed and polarized for partisan political purposes.  If one turns on any media, especially during this election year, they are quickly drawn into the darkness, negativity, contempt and hatred which have been proven to influence voters and determine elections. This deliberate exploitation of our people has consequences.  We see these consequences everyday as this deliberately created wave of darkness and negativity washes across our country. We see it with increased and frightening frequency in isolated incidents of violence, and in waves of additional violence which spread exponentially as a result. Don’t fall victim to it.  Don’t contribute to it. Don’t participate in it.  Don’t fan the flames by sharing inflammatory posts. Each of us walks a different path, revealed in a different light. As a result, we each have different perspectives, different convictions, and varying points of view. Share your convictions. Voice your opinion. Participate in the process, but find positive ways of influencing others through optimism, hope and constructive behavior. Sadly, there are those among us who are pathological haters. They can’t be reasoned with and they can’t be shouted down.  Our best hope is to simply ignore them or find them help.  You don't extinguish hate by fanning its flames. The only way to combat hate is to come together as a powerful force for good. SC


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Do you ever find yourself in one of those discussions where you put in your two cents worth, and then once you've received your change you just back away? I’ve saved the change from all those transactions and created a pretty good nest egg. SC

The saddest aspect of the Presidential campaign of 2016


To me, the saddest aspect of the Presidential campaign of 2016, and the problem which underlies and exacerbates the growing partisan divide in the USA, is the number of professed Christians who’ve been conditioned by their media and even the pulpit, to believe they’re required to back the conservative Republican candidate, even if its Donald Trump. As someone who has endeavored to follow Christ for over fifty years, it’s extremely difficult for me to see how anyone professing to follow Christ, by doing justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with their God, could possibly reconcile any aspect of their Christian walk with following Donald Trump. Sad does not begin to cover it.

Have ya got a minute?

I began posting to this blog in 2010.  Since then I've posted much of my historical novel, two small photo/poetry books, much of my genealogy, hundreds of my photos, dozens of my poems, countless thoughts on religion and politics, and a variety of odds & ends.  This blog has received thousands of page views from all over the world, but has very few followers and rarely receives a comment. Suffice it to say I'm bored and discouraged.  I'm going to post a link at which you may contact me if you'd like.  I'd appreciate any encouragement you might offer. I'm also looking for a reputable publisher and would appreciate suggestions.  If you occasionally enjoy any of my posts, I'd love to hear from you.
stcasebeer@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

An Unchristian Reception


Just as in every other aspiring metropolis here in the good ol’ USA, Independence Day in Willow Springs is a big deal!  There’s always a big parade down Main Street, and the organizers of the festive and time-honored event collect and decorate all the locals they can muster, to parade through town portraying historical characters. Suffice it to say, these colorfully costumed impersonators achieve this hoodwinking in varying degrees. For a number of years now, I’ve gladly seized this opportunity to impersonate Mark Twain. While I am at best a pale, pasteurized facsimile of Mr. Twain, minus the wit and wisdom, everybody loves Mark Twain, and I gladly accept their affection on his behalf. Sunday night I laid out my freshly laundered, off white suit and groomed my appropriately white, wispy whiskers in preparation for the big day.  During the wee hours of the morning I was awakened to find my right eye feeling as though it was packed with broken glass and glued shut.  Pinkeye again! This of course, curtailed my participation in all the day’s festivities, with the exception of sitting in quiet seclusion and pouting. This I did, as my family and much of humanity enjoyed parades, picnics and fireworks. Tuesday morning, I struggled from bed, dutifully administered my eye drops as instructed, donned my bathrobe and shuffled to the porch, to collapse on the bench and commiserate with the cat. All at once something scampered up my neck and into my ear.  Several seconds of frantic flailing and colorful colloquialisms eventually dislodged a brown recluse spider that had evidently been seeking refuge in my robe. Despite his unchristian reception, the good natured little Arachnid chose not to bite me, and I should have been more appreciative of his restraint.  I was not.  I squished him anyway! I’m generally quite mild and forgiving, but he caught me on a bad day.  SC