It’s not what’s served, but who’s around the table that counts.
The only time I lived away from Knoxville was during medical school and internal medicine residency in Memphis, Tennessee. I don’t miss Memphis. And although I had lived in an apartment while attending UT Knoxville, I had never been truly away from home until my sojourn in Memphis. It was the first time I was homesick.
Since I am now retired, I have no need for “vacations.” Every day is a day off, these days. I have made a discovery, perhaps because I now have more time for musing. I realized it is preferable that “vacation” comes to me, rather than getting on an airplane and enduring the rigors of travel elsewhere.
It was both vacation and homecoming last week for the Ferguson clan. My Portland daughter, her husband and my west coast grandkids (aka cute ones) spent a blessed week with us which began with “Sunday lunch.” This southern tradition is less common now, and I believe America is worse for its absence. My wife, Becky, fixed pot roast with all the fixings (including homemade ice cream) for a crowd of kids, cousins, adults and friends.
For many years we would gather at my mother-in-law’s home after church for pot roast, fellowship and table conversation which often lasted hours. The only entry ticket for a fine meal was a church bulletin proving worship service attendance! It took me years to get the numerous and generational Marys in Becky’s extended family straightened out. However, around the Sunday lunch table, I learned more than family history. I also received generational wisdom and discovered nuanced love. Jesus looked for opportunities to share a meal with others. We can learn a lot from the Master and Sunday lunches.
There were six hundred and thirty something Jewish laws when Jesus walked the Earth. The complexity of those laws made it virtually impossible to be righteous. Jesus simplified the issue. He said there were only two laws necessary for salvation and community. You should love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And you should love your neighbor as yourself. He said all the other laws derive from these. I believe the thousands of laws man has dreamed would not be necessary if humans obeyed those two foundational principles. Sunday lunch after church is an affirmation of those principles.
I was a bit concerned that the Portland “cute ones” (ages 6 ½ and 4 ½) might be shy around us. But with the wonderful technology we have nowadays, we’ve been able to be a part of their lives with pics and FaceTime as well as occasional cross-country visits. I thought about William Wordsworth’s beautiful spiritual poem “My Heart Leaps Up” while picking up my family at the airport. My heart leapt as my grandkids ran to hug me at the airport. I imagine God feels similarly when his children run to Him.
Despite our joys of love and family, my heart is broken by another act of evil, this time in Nashville, Tennessee. Who or what would murder children? But then who or what would exploit children or demand they be exposed to drag queen shows? There is no logic or argument for such warped ideologies. To promote self to the detriment of another is wrong and sacrilegious.
There is no excuse or scapegoat for the Nashville murders. I realize that similar or worse horrors have occurred throughout history, but now we are instantly aware of atrocities because of technology’s downside. My grandchildren are the ages of the murdered children. We are left beyond saddened. We are devastated, enraged and condemned; less by the tools of murder, but by the perversions and apostasy of our modern secular culture.
I believe we are in a Manichean war where “the best explanation for the otherwise inexplicable is evil” (JVF). And our only defense is God. Man’s laws have always fallen short and will continue to do so.
Although life is essentially over for the families of the murdered, the living must continue. I must continue to write and speak out against the evil that has fallen upon our land. I must continue to witness for the Way, the Truth and the Life. I must protect my family, and I am prepared to do so. And I will continue to fight the good fight, keep the faith and finish my race (2 Timothy 4:7, paraphrased).
I haven’t tried ChatGPT or Google’s Bard. I wonder how these soulless AI (artificial intelligence) tools might write a story of murdered children, Sunday lunch, homecoming, God and evil? Supposedly, you give the man-made tools a topic, some parameters and presto an essay results. I’m dubious. I’ve been tempted to write an essay and then ask the HAL 9000-like computers to write a comparative piece. But not this week. Not this time. It would be sacrilegious.
I am not a Luddite. I use technology. I was similarly curious to try virtual reality (VR) and did so a few years ago. Science fiction has long explored the realms of VR. I’ll warn you ahead of time: if you ever try VR, make sure you’re sitting down or you’ll find yourself on the floor. You might have experienced a vaguely similar experience in a movie theater watching the roller coaster advertisement of popcorn and sodas. VR is a movie roller coaster on steroids. Zuckerberg’s META is banking on selling this alternate reality. But I don’t think highly of Zuckerberg; he already exists in an alternative reality.
It’s time for actual reality, folks. Woke ideology is racist and wrong. Men don’t menstruate or have babies. Science and genetics define us as male (XY) or female (XX). Democrats everywhere are destructive. China is building two coal-fired energy plants a month and has twice the CO2 emissions as the US, while Biden’s energy secretary says we could learn from our enemy’s climate policy. Our border has been destroyed. Crime and drugs are everywhere.
It’s not about gender dysphoria, a butchy woman or a girly man. No, this “trans-killer” had transitioned to a monstrous evil.