Anyone have a spare jet in their pocket?

A certain minister, whose name isn’t worthy of mention, is asking his lemmings to provide him with the tens of millions of dollars needed to purchase a new jet. I’m guessing he’s too important or too busy to fly commercial in first class or—even worse—coach.

I have a Christian friend whose home was foreclosed due to lack of income. He also declared bankruptcy. He’s slowly going blind and feels led of the Lord to help with translation work on a Bible for the Mongolian language.

Another Christian friend in San Antonio is holding onto his home for dear life, trying to keep up mortgage payments.

Perhaps this minister should just pray the “Prayer of Jabez”. Or maybe he can ask Dr. Joel Osteen for a loan. Or perhaps how to pray “The Prosperity Gospel Prayer.”

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The greatest commandment: love

April 12, 2018 Leave a comment

Sometimes people will ask me, “What is Christianity in a nutshell?”

In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked about that. What is the great commandment of the law? What is the commandment that Christianity centers around?

Verses 37-40 explain: “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

This is the first and great commandment.

“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

It all centers around love. It’s a verse you could spend years pondering.

I’ve been a Christian for almost 37 years, and while Jesus teaches us to love everybody, I must admit there have been some whom I’ve had to take remedial classes to learn how to love. A few select customers I dealt with when I worked at a gas station. A certain Christian employer in Michigan. Politicians in general.

I’m not alone. Alvin Dark, a former Major League Baseball shortstop who also enjoyed success as a manager, became an outspoken Christian. He once mused, “As a Christian, God has taught me to love everybody. But the last ones I learned to love were the sportswriters.”


Richard’s Two Shekels guesses that Alvin Dark made one request about his mansion in New Jerusalem: “Father, could you put any Christian sportswriters on the other side of town? And please don’t give them my address.”

Love, of course, is an action verb and not just an emotion we swell up with when around our children or our significant other. I tell people that True Christianity hinges on helping people without strings attached for no reason, rather than looking at the situation, rubbing one’s hands together as if concocting a sneaky scheme and quietly asking, “What’s in it for me?”

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Two iron ladies I know

Both ladies, in their forties, have health issues. One has chronic issues that leaves her constantly in discomfort. The other had oral cancer; it was removed but spread to her lung and liver and is now considered terminal.

Neither has looked up to God and lamented, “Why ME?!”

The two have never met. One lives in Lansing, Michigan, while the other lives in San Antonio. Both believe what regardless of what happens, it’s in the Lord’s hands. Both ladies remind me of that saying: “God is good all the time.”

It’ll be something for me to remember the next time I have a car issue or wind up in the hospital.

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No Biblical basis for CCM?

January 2, 2018 Leave a comment

A Baptist minister told me a month or so ago he found “no Biblical basis” for Contemporary Christian Music. I’m not completely sure what he meant. Did he mean nothing in the Bible justifies it, or that CCM is incapable of communicating Biblical truths?

point of grace

Point of Grace, a group I love listening to.

Thirty years ago, I would’ve agreed with him. But as you grow and learn and mature, things tend to change. Many traditional Gospel songs are set to the tune of Irish and English drinking songs. Fanny Crosby, who wrote many Gospel songs adored by the Independent Fundamental Baptists (the Baptist equivalent of the Amish, I like to muse as an ex-IFBer), was considered wordly in her day. One pastor said a few years ago, “Today’s contemporary music is tomorrow’s traditional.”

I also thought about the many CCM artists who’ve blessed me with their music over the years: Point of Grace, Amy Grant, Watermark, Crystal Lewis, Newsboys, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. James and, believe it or not, Petra. My middle son loves Creed.

Years ago at a sheltered Christian college, I worked a summer with a guy named Ray. We teased each other because of our different accents (I grew up in South Texas, and he was from Maine and seldom pronounced his final “r’s”). To me, without glasses, he was a dead ringer for actor Judge Reinhold. We debated music a lot. I told him then I thought Petra was too worldly.

“Man, don’t be knockin’ Petra,” Ray said. “I got saved at a Petra concert.”

I thought about that for a long time, the way you do a first-hand observation that comes in and challenges an opinion you’ve formed in concrete.

Ray left that particular college due to the strict rules. I located him through Facebook a few years ago. Today, Ray is a musician serving the Lord and still going strong as a Christian. I can think of more than a few Christians from then who strictly adhered to tradition–and today, are no longer serving God.

I’ve even grown to like Petra, particularly their versions of “Grave Robber” (a song about 1 Corinthians 15) and “Not of This World.”

Richard Zowie likes all kind of music–except gangsta rap. His current guilty pleasure is KISS. Post comments here or email them to 

Stabs in the heart

September 6, 2017 Leave a comment

I have a Christian friend who is currently inactive. It’s probably the best way to describe them that I can think of at the moment.

This friend comes from a multi-cultural background and has a different personality. They tend to be quiet in their approach.

Once, while working at a church school, “Christians” took this friend aside and criticized their personality, their ethnicity and told them that they needed to get right with God.

Still scarred from this, my friend tells me they love Jesus but see God as not a nice person.

It reminded me of what one athlete once said they felt they were over-criticized: “Everybody needs a kick in the butt once in a while, but no one needs a knife in the heart.”

Why is it in Christianity we cling so hard to traditions, even at the expense of hurting others?

Critics like that will have a LOT to answer for someday…

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God prefers perfection over deep pockets

I remember in the first few years of the new millennium, working at a Christian radio station, listening to the commercials and talk shows. One of the popular topics of discussion was a book called “The Prayer of Jabez.”

I’ve never read the book, partly because I have a Jovian backlog of books that I want to read. This includes books I own, along with books that I sometimes check out at the library but can’t get around to reading. However, the synopsis seems like this: In 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, Jabez asks God to bless him, and God chooses to do so. Just like that, God will bless us if we only ask. Today, it’s a message similar to what Joel Osteen preaches.

One of the most wonderful Christians I know is a man who prays regularly, attends church regularly, reads the Bible and knows a great deal of Hebrew and Greek. This friend a few years ago also filed for bankruptcy and lost his house to foreclosure.

My friend says: “God’s not as interested in giving us stuff as He is in perfecting us.”

The idea, I suspect, is that we’ll enter into heaven with less spiritual growing to do. And as for being wealthy, how easy is it for even a wealthy Christian to place their faith in their bank account?

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Radio Free Babylon: two more to ponder

March 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Normally, Radio Free Babylon uses subtle humor to get a point across, and sometimes some of the cartoons are somber.

These one are somber and need no further comment.

RFB CWJ real kingdom

RFB CWJ No time for God