By Dr. Jim Ferguson

Many writers have compared the seasons of the year with the seasons of life. As I approach threescore and ten years, I’ve done so as well. I fancy myself late in the Indian summer of my days, though frosty mornings and brown leaves, like my aches and pains, portend winter’s chill.

I have also compared my life to an extensive airplane journey. After making my way to the airport with foundational principles and a good education, I boarded the plane with my wife and we took off into life. We cruised into the future, touching-down often with kids and career, for good times and tough ones, but always traveling toward the final destination. Though I am in the fall of my life, winter and the final destination are fortunately not yet on my horizon.

In March 2008 my first essay appeared in The Knoxville Focus. In the ensuing twelve years, I have written 600 essays and over 600,000 words, comparable to more than 6 novels. I never imagined this direction in my journey. I’m a husband, a doctor, a father and a Christian, but I never imagined I would become a writer. Isn’t it funny how life opens doors of opportunity and possibility?

I couldn’t think of a special topic for a numerically notable column. My Focus oeuvre includes observations of medicine, science, history, politics, religion, travel, literature, art, music, plays, philosophy and cinema. As Forrest Gump implied my column is “like a box of chocolates.” You never know what you’ll get. My defense is lots of things interest me, and every week I need to come up with a 1000 word essay.

I’m not paid to write, so by one definition I’m not a professional. I’ll trust my reader’s judgement of my prose more than the judgement of any self-styled “expert.” Those self-important and self-righteous experts of the State Department, who testified in Schiff’s kangaroo court claiming they made foreign policy instead of the President, are classic examples of such elitist attitudes.

I have become a skeptic in the fall of my life, especially of opinion polls done to shape thought rather than measure it. Remember all the polls and “experts” that affirmed Hillary Clinton would win the November 2016 election? In fact, part of America’s current problem is false and manipulatory polls which were wrong then and continue to manipulate people now. The soft coup d’état of the Russian hoax has now moved to the Ukraine. Democrats still call Trump a traitor and a Putin puppet. Talking heads say Trump’s a fool and not smart like the “expert,” unelected, deep-state bureaucrats of Washington.

About fifteen years ago a friend challenged me asking, “How many branches of government are specified in the Constitution?” Having taken a lot of tests in graduating from college and medical school, I can spot a trick question. I answered, “three: executive, legislative and judicial branches.” However, I knew his question was more rhetorical than real. He replied that there are actually four branches of government, three defined by the Constitution and the fourth branch comprised of ensconced, non-elected and usually faceless bureaucrats. He was right, and the curtain was pulled back and we saw the faces of the swamp bureaucrats during Schiff’s inquisition.

Giving someone or something a name helps define them. Early in the Genesis account (2:19-20), Adam is tasked to name all the created animals. In antiquity and in many primitive cultures a person’s name was a reflection of their personality or character. Like the signet ring of a king which imprints his seal, our good name is a reflection to the world. The word character derives from the ancient Greek word kharackter, a reflection of a person’s soul.

I’m not an “expert,” but I have common sense, and I was afforded a good education. I’ve been a teacher for more than forty years. The word doctor derives from the Latin verb docere which means to teach. Doctors teach each other, patients, staff and students. Unfortunately, I’ve observed education becoming more indoctrination rather than teaching students how to think critically and logically.

Hamlet said, “Something is rotten in Denmark,” and few would argue that something is wrong in America. The Democrats say that our problem is Trump. Actually, Trump is the reaction of We the People to what has become wrong in America. If our children had not been miseducated and we were not subject to 24/7 indoctrination by the media (96% Trump negative), would a rational person consider the transcript of a phone call be grounds for Presidential impeachment? Would a rational person actually consider the insane proposals of Democrat Presidential candidates?

Hatred is a destructive thing. We watched it destroy the families of the Christian-Newsom murders. We see the generational hatred of Palestinians and the enmity of Muslims and Jews. We smirk at the fictitious Hatfield and McCoy feud, but the malevolent character of hatred is disturbingly reflected in the eyes of Adam Schiff.

My father-in-law taught me that no man is as good or as bad as he is portrayed. I suspect that is true. However, I aver that “Sometimes the best explanation of the otherwise inexplicable is evil.” I pray for Schiff’s co-opted soul.

Perhaps you have heard of the Five Pillars of Islam. In my opinion there are “five pillars of Methodism.” When I became a Methodist in 1975, we promised to support the Church with our prayers, presence, gifts and service. In recent years Methodists added the promise to witness for Christ.

I have written that the two fundamental questions of humankind are where did we come from and what is our purpose? After considerable study and reflection I see the Creator as the origin of everything (you can research panentheism if you want more). And I know my purpose. I am to write, teach, serve, pray, study, witness and praise the Lord all my days.

Since I’ve been blessed with clean scans and more life, a voice in The Focus and the love of a beautiful wife and family, you can expect more on the topics listed in the second paragraph of this essay.

So, keep reading. Keep thinking and praying. Feel free to share my essays with friends who might be conflicted and confused. And some might benefit from a stocking stuffer with my book of essays (Well, What Did the Doctor Say?) at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!