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Forgiveness Is A Character Issue
Thursday, September 04, 2014
During the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize that I may not be as forgiving as I thought I was.

I know what the Bible says about forgiveness, and I believe it’s message, but I find myself in a bit of a quandary because it’s not the standard bit of unforgiveness with which I’m dealing.

Allow me to clarify. It’s not really a person I’ve been harboring hard feeling toward… it’s a character, or rather characters, and while the actors who have portrayed those characters may experience some residual hard feelings, it’s not something they need worry about.

For example, do you remember Long Hair? No, I’m not talking about days past when those who are follically challenged can remember their cascading manes.

I’m talking about the character Bruce Dern played in the 1972 movie “The Cowboys.” That’s how Dern’s character was listed in the credits… “Long Hair.”

He shot and killed the Duke, and Bruce Dern’s character didn’t even get a name in the movie’s credits, but that doesn’t clear “Long Hair” of any hard feelings I have.

Ridiculous isn’t it. But I wouldn’t be surprised if others harbor similar feelings about a movie character.

Another example is Carter Burke, who schemed to have Ellen Ripley implanted with the Alien’s progeny in the second of Sigourney Weaver’s alien encounters. Actor Paul Reiser never knew it, but he experienced a little backlash from that action as it took a bit for me to warm up to his character in “Mad About You” six years later.

I know it’s silly, but would you offer your guest room to Norman Bates, or have Hannibal Lector cater your next party?

Still, I’ve noticed that I’m not entirely unforgiving. Former villians are allowed to redeem themselves, hence Charles Bronson’s early characters didn’t create any major problems once he left — to use a bit of movie lingo — the “dark side of the force” behind.

Regarding such issues, I have a bit of a problem with former heroes switching hats, also.

Richard Boone was great as he battled wrong-doers as Paladin, but when he stepped over the line and shot the Duke… in two movies to be exact, he started causing me some problems.

As you can see, movie going is getting harder and harder for me.

Maybe I’ll have to stick to animated features, but then I’ll have to deal with that Tom and Jerry, and Wily Coyote and Roadrunner issue.

Can’t the underdog… or cat, ever come out on top?
Full Story
How Long Do Half Chihuahuas and Half Shih Tzus Live?’
Thursday, June 12, 2014
I love my dog. I really do.

Most of our family, except for one or two who harbor the little canine no serious ill will but might not be first in line to give her “mouth to mouth” resuscitation should such be required to save her, feel mostly the same.

So it was a very level question when we were discussing doggy years and canine ages, and one of my daughters-in-law piped up from the couch, “You should Google this: How long do half Chihuahuas and half Shih Tzus live?”

Wise girl. So I did. And this is the truly wise answer that popped up: “Doesn’t matter whether it is the front half, the rear half, the left half, the right half. Half a dog cannot live.”

I way more than half laughed. When I recovered enough to read the answer aloud, way more than half of us hit the floor in laughter.

Eventually, I read on: “If you mean a ‘cross-breed,’ the answer is as unpredictable as about everything else about cross-breeds.”

The fellow whose screen name is “King Les the Lofty” went on to discuss cross-breeds in general, those two breeds specifically, and finally, with several wise caveats, he submitted his educated guess: “15-19 years.”

His quick-witted Highness also showed some real editorial skill. He tossed this in for free: “By the way, breed names are proper nouns and thus require a capital letter for each word in them (except for internal connectives such as ‘de’ or ‘of’).” I like this guy.

So here’s the good news for my dear dog and my dear daughter-in-law: The diminutive pooch will likely live a good while longer.

And here’s the bad, but not too surprising, news for all of dog-dom, and you don’t need a degree from Texas A & M — you don’t even need to be dog website royalty — to mark this down as infallibly true: “Half a dog cannot live.”

You know what? Half systems of “righteousness” can’t either.

The Apostle Paul did not refer much to “dogs,” half or whole, in his letters to the Romans and Galatians. But if we really grapple with what he wrote there…

If we don’t just jerk out of context a verse here or there to further calcify what we already believe and don’t plan to change no matter what Paul (or even God) says… If we don’t flip over to the Book of James and twist words to try to get James and Paul crossed up…

Then we’ll find that only two systems of “righteousness” (“salvation”) are available. “Grace through faith” or “law through works.”

Bottom line: Trust God and his goodness (through Christ and the cross.) Or trust yourself and your own goodness. Paul loves us enough to be blunt. He won’t allow half choices, mixed choices. We must choose. Grace or law? Faith or works? God or us?

Oh, yes, if you choose to love and trust the Lord, you’ll get to work. Joyfully. Not to be Christ’s but because you are Christ’s. Forever. For sure.

But if you choose “salvation by law,” get ready to work like a slave. Never sure you’ve done enough. Always afraid you’ve missed the mark.

I guess it’s bad news: Half a dog can’t live. Count on it.

But here’s the best news: Anyone trusting in Christ, and not at all in himself, can live. And will.

Count on it. Count on Him.

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