SEARCHING FOR THE REALLY REAL

by James A. Wilson

Nobody – not even God – expects flawed human beings to find Him; He finds us. He does expect us to seek Him; yet He is content for us to seek whatever passes for ultimate reality within our clouded perspective. He guarantees success in exchange for faithfulness on the quest throughout the book bearing His mark.

The main characters in my novel, Generation, do not have the wherewithal to go searching for God; they simply do not believe He exists. They do have the integrity to recognize the bankruptcy of nothing more important on their horizon than cutting school to go surfing and avoid discovery by school authorities. They do discover the poverty of lives lived in reactive rebellion against the parents and other people they do not trust. That same integrity impels them to begin to search for what they call the really real. It is my conviction there is only one terminus for such a search, but I have neither right nor need to judge when God does not, and certainly the characters find themselves in disparate locations from one to another when the story ends. Of course the last page of Generation is not really the end of their story; the author plans six books for the series.

But what does this search look like? Really?

For one thing it’s a good thing Jon and Lonnie and Travis and Blume begin their search as teenagers. If they had the responsibilities of family and career that come not much later in life they might excuse themselves with the old saw, “So up to our armpits in alligators we forgot our purpose was clearing the swamp.” The good news is the God they (unknowingly) seek at the end of their quest often promises He will take care of the alligators – if we let Him – so we can focus on our calling per the swamp. These young people have a roof over their heads – provided by their families – and a heart to work for the extras their families do not provide. The combination of two factors and a mandate to learn about the world beyond their high school campus confines provides both the impulse and the environment for their questing.

Another good thing is this God they unknowingly seek has a habit of challenging us with no more than we are prepared to handle in a given moment, though more is likely waiting in the wings. In Generation these close friends encounter virulent racism on a Southern California beach – where many believe it cannot exist in the easygoing culture of wind and wave – there it is dangerous but not yet deadly. They will later experience the lethal violence of the Klan, but coming as an escalation of what they have already had to process and respond to.

Still another is the will they share to have each other’s backs in fair and foul weather alike; this will extends to telling each other what neither wants to hear. When the protagonist is more devoted to conning his way through life than meeting it head on his friends confront him. The same dynamic operates when he begins to suspect a dark secret about a family member that could invade his life as well; he is able to receive the input because it is clear his friends speak from love rather than judgment; they have his back, and at cost. He has already demonstrated the same devotion to them in the first pages of his story.

The last-but-not-least good and essential thing is the commitment to act on truth discovered, wherever it may lead. The principal characters come upon opportunity after opportunity to take risks – physical, social, even spiritual – with the hoped-for pay-off being a more authentic life, a life worth living. Because they believe the really real is worth whatever they can imagine investing they go for it and are guaranteed ultimate success.

I am not offering some pap about all roads leading to the same destination. I am saying anyone willing to walk any road to its consequential end out of passion for authenticity will eventually come face-to-face with authenticity. As a Christian I am convicted authenticity has a Name. But I am equally convicted the really real God loves each of us more than I can and has made provision for each beyond my imagination. All I – or anyone else – need to do is be faithful in my own lifelong quest and encourage those I meet along the way – just as Jon and Lonnie and Travis and Blume practice for each other.

These things are essential.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

LIFE BEGINS WHEN GOD BEGINS IT

by James A. Wilson

Practitioners of the religion of Baal are happy to co-opt the Christian Faith and even the Christian Bible when it suits their purposes. Leftist presidential candidates are enthusiastic about just such a practice, as evidenced by Pete Buttigieg’s recent statements claiming the Bible says life begins only when a baby first draws breath. Others will jump on this bandwagon they imagine a perfect vehicle for justifying abortion up to the moment of birth. Extending the logic can even justify post-birth execution; one can say the baby is not breathing on his own until the umbilical cord is cut. It is tailor made until we realize it is just another murderous lie.

Hopefully no one will be fooled, although left wing groups – including some who call themselves Christian – have been touting the idea for awhile. Genesis 2:7 is their favorite proof-text, the one in which God breathes into the nostrils of the man He has created and only then does Adam begin to live. Certainly breathing is essential for life inasmuch as when we stop breathing we tend to stop living. Yet the contention is still a lie from every conceivable point of view.

Eve was already breathing when she was removed from his side – if we take the Biblical account seriously – I do, but Buttigieg admits in interviews he does not unless it suits his agenda. That is because a human body oxygenates all flesh within it after that first breath; simple logic and the facts of physiology are clear. Just as clearly, the mother is providing life giving oxygenation to a fetus from the moment of conception, just as she provides it to every other cell inside her body. The most important common denominator of every story of human animation and/or re-animation in the Bible is people live when the Spirit of God breathes on them – whenever and however that occurs.

Psalms 139 says God knew the psalmist before he was born, or even formed; he was knit together by God in the womb when he was yet unformed, when there was nothing to him. God tells Jeremiah, and Paul of Tarsus after him, that He formed him from nothing in the womb. Isaiah claims that pre-animate formation by God Himself in Chapters 44 and 49. Job 31 assures us that all humankind are formed in just this way by God Himself and for His own purposes. Clearly – from a biblical standpoint – life begins when and because God so designates it from the beginning.

Of course science – as always when it is not perverted by political agenda – is one hundred per cent in support of the scriptural viewpoint. Fetal heart beat and even brain activity is now detectable closer and closer to conception. DNA tests on aborted or miscarried unborn children are fully – no-brainer – human. Younger and younger pre-natal human beings are able to live outside of the womb; I personally know twins born at less than twenty-four weeks gestation who flourish today. The reason they flourish is because the parents refused consent to let one of them die that the other might have a better chance. Babies will take that first breath if we let them; we have the technology to bless or curse them more often than not.

Many pro-abortion people defend their position – as ancient Baalists did before them – with statements that a fetus, a pre-born baby, is not a human person but rather a bundle of tissue until it is born. Given this non-human status, the welfare of others already breathing would take priority. Never mind the DNA and brain activity evidence I cited above, or the fact that babies respond in utero to music, parental voices, and a variety of other relational stimuli. Mayor Pete and his allies claim scriptural authority for their viewpoint, so let’s go to scripture. That done, we see their viewpoint is hogwash.

The New Testament word for baby is brephas. The New Testament word for unborn child is…brephas. In other words the Bible makes no distinction whatever between born and pre-born human life, according personality to both. Does anyone really believe if the authors of the NT meant to distinguish they could not have come up with another word? Seriously?

The case of John the Baptist is the most telling evidence for the imputation of human personality to a pre-born child in the New Testament. In Luke’s first chapter Mary is just knowingly pregnant with Jesus when she visits her cousin, Elizabeth, who is about six months pregnant with John. The moment Mary greets her cousin the baby John leaps in the womb, obviously responding to the presence of Baby Jesus in his mother’s womb. One could not ask for a more concrete statement of the biblical view of when human personality – life – begins. As I said earlier, it is when God declares it when as yet it has neither form nor substance.

I suggest Mayor Pete and his friends try reading the Bible – and respecting what they read – before presumptuously telling the rest of us what it says. If they do they might discover the good news that God actually does love everybody, came in the flesh because He intends to rescue everyone who will accept rescue – at any time – and realize the God-who-became-Humanity-embodied, the One who gave communion even to Judas Iscariot – and washed his feet the night of his betrayal – is just as anxious to save people like Mayor Pete who are happy to kill the most innocent humans on the planet at any time.

This is the best news of all time.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

LIFE IS EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS AND CERTAINLY MINE

By James A. Wilson

Nothing much has changed. In 2011 I was invited to testify before the California Commission on the Status of Women. Citing the trauma most women endure post-abortion, I said if the state wanted to address suffering women they could stop funding thirty thousand abortions yearly.

I remember the audible gasp from the audience, and the hissed, “This time he’s gone too far.” I remember with equal clarity the chairperson’s effort to encourage dialogue over diatribe; she asked if I was willing to hear views other than my own. I answered I had been listening to such views for more than thirty years and was happy to keep listening, so long as I received – for a change – a chance to be heard as well. The Planned Parenthood representative agreed to dialogue with me, yet when I approached her on a break to seek an appointment she huffed, “I’ve got better things to do than talk to you,” and stalked out of the room. It is not about exchange of ideas; it is about who is entitled to speak and who is not.

More recently presidential candidate Senator Kristin Gillibrand excoriated a Texas city council for banning abortions in their city. Her perspective was clear – men have no business making decisions concerning a woman’s body. Her rivals for her party’s nomination agree with her and are – frankly – just as aggressive over whether women may legitimately weigh in on what they consider not open to discussion. The common agenda is not to win an argument but to be abusive enough to stifle speech they find disagreeable.

I’ve got some news for Kristin and her friends.

I was an unwanted child. Had my mother had the option in the 1940s to cancel my life I most certainly would not have gotten past the abortionist’s knife. I am glad I was born and grew to manhood. I say the issue of disposing of unwanted children by abortion is very much my business. I am still willing to listen, but I will not be inhibited by those who – because they have no argument – resort to bullying others into silence. I exercise my right to speak as an American, a citizen of God’s Kingdom, and a survivor of my mother’s revulsion at my presence in her womb.

By the way, it is not all about abortion and infanticide, this effort to stifle speech. Tim Cook, the openly gay CEO of Apple, made a very fine address to the graduates of Stanford University about accepting responsibility for unintended consequences if they would accept credit for unforeseeable successes. He exhorted them to see themselves as part of a story they would not get to finish, not unlike the author of the Letter to the Hebrews commending the prophets and martyrs who anticipated the coming of Christ and paved the road for Him, knowing they would not see Him in this life and choosing to believe their sacrifice gave them abundance where it counts. He had me – despite my disagreement with his political agenda – until his deeper agenda came out.

The unintended consequences are all about enabling what he calls hate speech and fake news. Coming from a gay activist this is obvious code for what spells out later. He does not want to win a debate over the LGBTQ program; he wants to stop conversation in its tracks. Freedom of speech and (Christian) faith are just too dangerous in his world to be tolerated.

The suppression does not end with gender and sexuality.

Actor John Cusack has joined with congressional members Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Tlaib to make blatantly anti-Semitic/anti-Israeli statements. Cusack re-tweeted a drawing of a Star-of-David decorated sleeve from which descends a hand busy crushing a crowd with the caption, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

The laugh is Cusack hoisted himself on his own petard. Although he has received criticism for his blatant anti-Semitism, it is open season on Jews all over the world from UN condemnation of Israel after Palestinians bombard Israeli civilians with seven hundred rockets in one day to the still unaddressed hatred of Jews emanating from Democratic members of Congress such as Ilhan Omar. By Cusack’s twisted logic the indisputable conclusion is Jews rule nobody, since everybody feels free to condemn them.

The abortion lobby, on the other hand, is beyond criticism for most pundits and kingmakers; departures from this faux orthodoxy are punished with labels from anti-choice to anti-women. The alternative sexuality lobby is equally protected; top Australian footballer Israel Folau is vilified all over his country for quoting a Bible verse that includes gays as sinners among many others – Go Fund Me even took down the page supporting his legal defense and withheld donations given for it – and singer Taylor Swift is in trouble not for criticizing same-sex-attracted but for supporting them with too-little-too-late.

Good news is suppression is not working.

Israel enjoys a resurgence of popular support in the Trump era. Comfort with the gay agenda has slipped to minority status even amongst millennials and Folau has received two million dollars for his defense from other sources; even the Australian Prime Minister has spoken against the persecution he endures. Sixty per cent of Americans now want to ban all or most abortions. The bullies have overplayed their hand.

Of course the reality is criticism – in isolation – achieves nothing, much less condemnation. What is needed is behavior expressing accountability plus blessing. That of course requires repentance from all of us, but it’s worth it. The last time the world saw this phenomenon the Iron Curtain fell.

But it begins with this: Life is everybody’s business.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com