Ecclesiastes 3:1-8New Living Translation (NLT)

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.


Memorial Day 2016 by larrypaulbrown
Lord, we remember today the killing times,
the loss of life, of innocence.
Our young men of valor and courage,
sacrificed for America’s corrupt,
the wealthy and influential.

We stand yet today on the frontlines watching
the suffering, the pain and weeping.
Our sons barely men, so innocent,
dying for their honor and duty,
while greed watches in complacency.

Lord, we witnessed in 1968,
Chicago, in chaos, as dissenters battled.
Fighting the same war on the streets,
wanting to end that evil in a far off land,
they were draft dodgers, card burners, patriots.

You see, Lord, they also loved America,
wanting only to preserve freedom.
Two battlefields, American brothers,
set asunder by corrupt powers,
wealth and influence intent on plunder.

We must ask who won that war in the jungles,
who has won in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Certainly, some became rich and powerful,
enjoying the booty from their ventures,
it’s that way with all wars.

Those of us who died, have we won?
Those of us who fought in Chicago, have we won?
Because, even though our battlefields were different,
we were brothers fighting for an America we loved,
one not corrupted by greed, power, and cowardice.

Every generation has its war and its spoils,
wealth hidden in corporate boardrooms.
And every generation has its heroes,
the fallen ones and the ones spared,
to give us hope and teach us peace.

There is a time for everything;
to love and hate,
to go to war and make peace,
to cry and laugh,
to speak and be quiet.

But, Lord, what we need more than ever,
now, is a time of healing.
We shall never forget the sacrifices, not ever;
but, O God, bless us today with healing for
the nation, the people, the weary warriors.



A friend invited me to a movie, said I needed to get out of the house and enjoy a few chuckles and smiles. Yes, I agreed. My brain was getting moldy spending too much time with the mundane chores of daily living and an afternoon at the cinema sounded like a good thing.

Of course when one pays $11 to $15 bucks for a show (forget about snacks and drinks) one doesn’t want to miss anything that he’s paid for. That includes previews and we arrived when previews had already started. That’s OK; twenty minutes after seating ourselves previews were still being previewed. Why not just call them “wastes of time” or “nappy time”?

However, not being one to complain, I sat through all the sex, bloodshed, violence, and cussing that was going to appear this coming summer and finally the feature presentation began. It was billed as a comedy and, indeed, the trailer showing on television as advertisement seemed to be quite comical. So, I had high hopes. The last movie my friend and I saw was “Cinderella” and I was rather enchanted that ‘good movies’ were still being produced by the industry.

I do not claim to be a movie critic. I do not claim to be main stream America. I do not claim to be hip…not anymore that is. I’m just an old fogey who wants to be entertained for my eleven bucks.

The opening 5 minutes included sexual innuendo, nudity, violence, a crashing car and volumes of blood. “OK”, I assured myself, maybe this will get better as we move along. I had even stuck my hearing aids in my ears for this special occasion so that I wouldn’t miss a word.

Bad move. The noise got louder, the violence got worse, and then the cussing began. Now, I’m not a prude and I can handle an “F” word once in a while. But my faith and religion force me to draw the line at profanity laced with the objects of my devotion. God and Jesus did not have any place in that movie script, and neither did I.

I waited outside the theater with a nice cup of coffee until my friend appeared when the movie had ended. He understood why I left and for that I was grateful. The movie carried an “R” rating. I should have checked beforehand.

But, the fact that this movie is being well received by the public forces me to realize that this type of behavior and language is mainstream America. It is no longer back-on-the farm civility and principle that rules our land. Young, pre puberty children converse with ‘F’ and ‘MF’ as if it were grammar school proper. Guns have become the common solution to difficulties which in a time past were addressed with conversation and compromise.

Which brings me to my point. Whose reality will prevail?  I refuse to surrender what is my reality.  I refuse to carry a weapon to the grocery store, to school or to my church. And I refuse to accept the rudeness and arrogance of contemporary America as normal.  Contrary to the rhetoric of supporters of our violent, sex-driven culture who adamantly declare that the movies, TV, and video games they enjoy are purely fantasy, I must counter with something my Grandpa taught me as a boy.

Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see,
For the Father up above, is looking down in love,
Oh be careful little eyes what you see.

Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say,
For the Father up above, is looking down in love,
Oh be careful little mouth what you say.

Oh, be careful little hands, what you do,
For the Father up above, is looking down in love,
Oh be careful little hands what you do

Oh, be careful little mind what you think,
For the Father up above, is looking down in love,
Oh be careful little mind, what you think.

In today’s world I would condense Grandpa’s advice:


Matthew 6:22-23  (NIV)
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!



“He marches to the beat of a different drummer.”

“Different strokes for different folks.”

We are a world of variety in life styles, persuasions and philosophies. What works for you may be anathema for me and your choice of music could drive me whacko. I love John Philip Sousa, Bach, and John Lennon and I have no idea what hip-hop is.

How often have you heard the above quotes used to describe someone who is not like we are? How do you react? Do you avoid, sneer, snicker, taunt, bully? Or do you love and embrace the differences? If we follow the entity which is the Higher Power in our lives, the path is clear to us. Bill W. exhorts tolerance in our AA literature. It is clearly stated in the sacred writings of all major religions and specifically cited as the greatest of commandments, after loving your God, repeatedly in New Testament writings of the Bible.

Matthew 5:43
Matthew 19:19
Matthew 22:39
Mark 12:31
Luke 10:27
Romans 13:9
Galatians 5:14
James 2:8

We have the instructions, the commandments, and the strength of Godly fellowships to guide us in our relationships with the rest of humanity which will lead to civility, tolerance, peace, and shalom (wholeness & completeness).

So, where have we gone wrong? Why are war, brutality, murders, suicide bombings, and genocide filling the screens we view every day? What we have is a far cry from what our world should be.

“The sky is blue.”

“No, stupid, the sky is green.”

Therein lies the problem. My truth may not be the same as your truth. I have been raised to equate the sky as blue. But, you may have been told that the color I see as blue is green to you. Or you could be color blind. Or one of us may have a need to be contrary.

Whatever the reason for disagreeing, it is evident that our truths are not the same even though we both call it truth. When we apply this to our religious philosophies, each of us certain that our truth is absolute and every other conviction is in error, we have created a breeding ground for hatred and discontent.

Jesus said, “I am the Way: the truth and the life.”

Obviously, a great number of his contemporaries disagreed.  It got him crucified.  Maybe he was the truth, maybe he and his followers of the Way had the answers.  But others, Jews and Romans, held to a differing truth and had no qualms about pressing their version.

So, how can I honor my truth and yet respect and uphold the faiths of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists who sincerely believe they have the way?  Answers were much easier and forthright in a previous church affiliation I experienced many years ago.  Everything was in black or white, all answers were concrete, and everyone outside our church was damned…..or at least unblessed.

And there is my answer.  I know from that church affiliation what the truth is not.  It is not narrow.  It is not exclusive.  It is not bitter.  It is not vindictive. It is not vengeful.  It is not proud.  It is not arrogant.

Truth is love.  Love is truth.  Jesus is both.  And that, short and simple, is the entirety of my religion.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 tells me everything I need to know about religion, about faith, about conviction, and yes, about truth.

4″ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails……”






There was a time when I thought I was somewhat unique.  Nobody, but nobody, in the world was like me, the good, the bad and the indifferent.  Yep, I was surely special.  Then day one of my recovery from alcoholism occurred and guess what?  I met a bunch of other people just like me.  What a revelation!

Then I knew that whatever I was thinking, someone else had thought the same before me. Whatever I was doing,  someone had done it before.  The phrase, “been there, done that” took on a very significant meaning in my life.  And I was no longer unique.

However, I can occasionally make side trips to that place called special and unique.  It feeds my ego, pumps my self-esteem, and ultimately puts me in a dangerous space in my sobriety.  The God of my understanding tells me that truly I am loved in his eyes, but I am just a grain of sand in the sea of humankind.  I am just one of a multitudinous flood of creatures who face the same issues; we dream, hope, grieve, worship, sin, worry, rejoice.  And it is guaranteed that each of us will physically die.

The only one who is special in this scenario called life on earth is our HP.  Who else could put together a bunch of bitter, demented, angry, back-biting, self-absorbed, whining, drunks and turn them into souls afire for sobriety and fellowship?  It’s got to be a God thing.  Nothing else is big enough, almighty enough, loving enough to make us over into something special.






A long, long time ago in a northern backwoods land called Unityville lived a young, beautiful damsel with her parents, grandparents, an aunt and a sibling in a great multi-storied mansion on many acres of farmed and forested land.  Idyllic in all respects, it was a land filled with milk and honey, brimming with wild creatures, and story book-like in all respects.

Alas, the maiden was given to melancholy spending long days and sleepless nights pining for her betrothed knight fighting fearlessly in a faraway land across the great waters.  She counted idly the days until her valorous warrior would return to her waiting arms and their love could finally be consummated in the little white church on the road to Unityville where all of her friends and family were also united in matrimony.

Finally after what seemed to her like a lifetime, her beloved did return safely and immediately plans were made to unite their passions in a single state of wedded bliss. The date was set for the auspicious betrothal, a little green house on a hillside along the road was secured for their new life together, and friends and family eagerly anticipated the great day.

All, except the wicked witch of the groom’s family who lived in the land of Mywayonly. Detail after detail regarding the ceremony was unacceptable to her, greatest of which was the little, white church in Unityville where all the bride’s friends and family would be waiting to celebrate their new beginning.

“No, no, no”, she was heard to complain, “that church does not have the proper doorway and the pews are far too soft for my liking. The windows are much too ornate and the preacher man is known to work in his garden on Sunday afternoons. No, absolutely unacceptable.”

Not wanting to create a stir within the families, the lovers decide to forgo all the whoopdedoo and were married by the local justice of the peace, an honorable man known throughout the rural kingdom as a wise and Godly man.

All was wedded bliss in the little, green house sitting on a hillside along the country road leading to the east of Mywayonly and, as happens in all blessed marriages, a little bundle of joy burst onto the scene. All were happy but for the wicked witch in the husband’s family.

“No, no, no,” the witch complained over the blessed bundle in his nifty little bassinet with birds and butterflies floating overhead. “That child must not be raised by the ungodly people of the little, white church along the road leading to the land of Unityville.”

“He must live in the land of Mywayonly, and you”, pointing an ugly finger at the lovely young mother, “you must learn to dress more appropriately, more fitting for a godly wife and mother. Black stockings and long dresses are what you should wear. And for God’s sake pin up that hair atop your head. Don’t continue disgracing those of us who walk in Godly paths.”

Alas, the little, green house sitting on a hillside along the country road to the east of Mywayonly was no longer a house of bliss and joy. The young husband subjected himself to the wiles of the wicked witch and left his fatherly duties to pursue the intolerant ways of the wicked witch.

The moral of this story: in your life’s quest pass through the land of Mywayonly cautiously with love on your heart.





Bigger than life itself and a boyhood hero and role model to many of us at a time when rock stars, druggies, and Hollywood glamor just didn’t get it, John Wayne was unique and loved by many.

Possibly the most recognized and distinguishable memory of the Duke was the way he said “pilgrim”. Nobody can deny he holds a patent on “pilgrim”. The dictionary says this: “(1) person who journeys to a sacred place (2) traveler”
That includes just about all of us.

In his book “You Don’t Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right” Rabbi Brad Hirschfield says of pilgrims:

“I have come to think of the people in our society who are unyieldingly committed as pilgrims, and of those who can’t commit at all as tourists. Pilgrims know who they are and where they’re going. Fundamentalists, many evangelicals, many Orthodox Jews, jihadists, die-hard Democrats or Republicans, liberals and conservatives shouting back nd forth at each other, ranting secularists, raving holy rollers-all are pilgrims. I know because I was one of them. I was walking in a direct line to my sacred destination , and no one was going to get in my way.”

I also have been in both places, a tourist and a pilgrim.  Neither was comfortable nor soul-feeding.  I have discovered that the space between, a place of searching and mystery, and a faith in that which has not been revealed is probably where I need to be in my quest. It fits well. Sorry, Duke.




Krishna was there,
Yahweh and Buddha watched from above.
They saw and wept;
the Way, the great ‘I AM’, a Savior
nailed to a tree.

A man of peace,
a messenger of love,
hope for the hopeless,
life for the dead in spirit
nailed to a tree.

The heavens roared in pain,
the angels ceased singing,
the holy ones prostrated in grief,
skies thundered,
the moon and stars hid in horror.

Their Son, their beloved,
shamed and ravaged,
naked and dying,
nailed to a tree
mocked and reviled.

“No,” they bellowed,
“this shall not be the end.
Our Prince of Peace will prevail.
He will be Lord of lords
and King of kings. Forever.”

The Way – the truth and life continued,
peace, love, tolerance, justice
revealed through other lives.
Mohammed, Francis of Assisi,
Gandhi, Martin Luther King.

……….you and I.
All of God’s children united
with the spirit of the Way
living in truth and peace,
eternally joined in Spirit.

The Way will not be crushed,
the truth will not be crushed,
the life will not be crushed.
Forever and ever.

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” [Isaiah 53:3]

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