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By James Wilson


What do President Donald Trump, Australian tennis great Margaret Court, and the leaders of The Centers for Medical Progress have in common?  All three have taken moral and political stands at odds with the Progressive Left in their respective cultures and been subjected to incredible bullying from forces with more clout and power than they have.  At the same time these bullies cry out that their victims are bullies, bigots, and all around bad guys.


If we define bullying as the exercise of power outside of law, propriety, or just cause, Donald Trump is a poster child for being bullied.  We had calls for his impeachment from the day he took office due to alleged mental instability – the evidence his insistence on building a border wall and moving our embassy to Jerusalem – both required under federal law.  We have renewed calls for his impeachment for allegedly giving classified information to Russians, although it is the President (not the New York Times) who classifies and so – by definition – if he gives information it is not classified.  We have more calls for his impeachment because “all the intelligence agencies” say Russia compromised the election process with “possible” help from the Trump campaign – they don’t – and not a shred of evidence has ever been offered.  This chasm of nothingness includes allegations he pressured former FBI Director Comey to back off investigating Michael Flynn; no evidence of that either, but Comey himself is under suspicion of mishandling classified information.


(Wait a moment, say some.  Didn’t the special prosecutor just indict thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian corporations?  Didn’t Rick Gates plead guilty and isn’t Paul Manafort in the cross-hairs of Mr. Mueller?  The answer would be yes, but there has been no connection made to Trump himself and the charges against Gates and Manafort bear no connection to espionage, election fraud, or Russians.)


Trump cannot respond to most of it because to do so gives the appearance of suppressing free speech.  Yet his standing in the polls keeps dropping because the attacks are relentless.  This is bullying.


How about Margaret Court?  The most successful tennis player in Australian history is seventy-four years old.  The woman once honored by having her nation’s most prominent tennis stadium named for her dared to speak out against same sex marriage during the plebiscite campaign last Fall.  She has been vilified nationwide – from major newspapers and television networks to legislative bodies – and there are calls to re-name the stadium alongside threats by players to refuse to play there.  John McEnroe mocked her and the chief minister of the Australian Capitol Territory accused her of intimidating gays.  Media published photos invariably show her scowling.  Who is attempting to intimidate whom?  The bullies do it because they can.


Perhaps most serious – due to the implications for free speech everywhere – is the bullying of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Centers for Medical Progress.  They completed an undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood – journalists do that – and produced videos showing PP execs admitting and committing felonies related to the harvest and sale of human body parts.  California’s attorney general has indicted not Planned Parenthood but the whistleblowers on fourteen counts of leaking confidential information.  The leaked information was in statements made before hundreds of people at PP conventions.  They also stand accused of falsifying identity – journalists do that too.  The federal judge hearing the case has held them in contempt for defying his order forbidding publication of the videos despite the time honored doctrine of prior restraint; it prevents a judge from suppressing material before it can be shown to have caused unlawful damage.  Because he can…unless stopped by an aroused citizenry determined to publish these videos in his face!


I wrote this piece about a shared calling.  The calling is simplicity itself.  We are called not to accede to bullies, but to combat them.  That means we tell the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and the Big Three networks if we hear about it from them our default is to disbelieve it until they commit to responsible journalism – and their sponsors can take the heat of our disbelief.  It means we call for the impeachment of lawless judges and become okay with civil disobedience to their lawless orders.  And it means when the establishment of a nation gangs up on one seventy-four-year old who speaks her heart we stand with her, not with the mob that would silence her.


It is a calling as old as the Word of God featuring a sheep herder named Moses who stands against Pharoah and freelance prophets confronting kings from David to Ahab.  It is the calling shared by fishermen who told the mighty Sanhedrin its priests could do as they would but the fishermen would serve the God who first served them.  It  is the calling that binds Patrick Henry to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.  The good news?  God honors and upholds those who honor Him and uphold His little ones.


James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, and Kingdom in Pursuit – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at




By James Wilson


There is no way to overstate the horror of yet another gun massacre, this time at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Unfortunately, it is possible to exploit such tragedies for personal or political purposes.  It is just as possible to be in such denial of the harsh realities within such an event as to gloss over the difficult truths in favor of feel-good solutions that do nothing to prevent more of the same.


News coverage of Parkland has managed to wallow in both possibilities.  There are the predictable calls for tougher gun control laws – as though such legislation would stand any chance of preventing another Parkland, another Las Vegas, or Sandy Hook, or even the Colorado theatre shooter.  Despite media claims to the contrary, every one of these shooters was using an already illegal weapon or the shooter himself was a person prohibited from owning a firearm under existing law.  The Parkland suspect – as well as the Colorado theatre perpetrator and the Sandy Hook executioner – was a mental patient.  The Las Vegas and Parkland suspects had posted threats on line and Cruz – Parkland – had been involved in a number of assaults, some of which were not prosecuted despite their serious nature.  The FBI admitted they knew the danger posed by Cruz, as one example, but did nothing.


There is a simple solution that has not been tried.  That would be for local police and the FBI to enforce existing laws.  This would include laws forbidding firearms to identified criminals and diagnosed mentally ill. It would include penalties for agencies failing to share such information with other agencies, and imply schools would be penalized for not bringing police and prosecution into serious assaults in their student bodies – we are not talking about a couple guys getting into it but cases involving injuries and medical care.  And it would shout that armed security officers on school sites need to run toward the problem rather than hanging back when violence breaks out on campus – as the Florida school officer did not.


ABC News in particular has obsessed over new and unnecessary – not to mention constitutionally questionable – laws as the only answer.  Yet the cliché is truthful – when  law abiding citizens cannot own guns only criminals will have them.  This is especially true where shrinking budgets lengthen police response times and the victims of crime are often themselves the only resource available.  Has anyone mentioned the brandishing of a gun – or a criminal wondering if there might be a gun to be brandished – deters far more crime than the actual discharge of a firearm?  Studies show that it does.


President Trump and some Republican leaders have recommended making illegal so-called bump stocks for rifles, increasing the age for purchasing rifles from eighteen to twenty-one, and arming some teachers who have specialized training and experience.  Also urged are minimum three day background checks for all gun purchases and including gun shows in that provision.

None of this satisfies ABC News – and other media giants – who now wonder out loud if the adults who run the country will at last listen to the teenagers who plan to march on Washington when they beg lawmakers to prevent another school massacre by enacting the new laws every progressive seems to want.


Make no mistake; every citizen has the right and responsibility to weigh in on issues of national import – and that includes adolescents who must live with the action or inaction taken by their elders.  Teens were active in the fight for civil rights and the halting of a war political leaders never intended to win in the sixties.  They are active in the movement to re-sanctify life from conception to its final hours.  They should be listened to – but obeyed simply because they are young?  How many people who have not yet graduated high school are certified constitutional scholars?  Crime prevention experts?  Contrary to news reports, leaders are listening – from the President to the Secretary of Education – but they are not necessarily asking how high in response to a command to jump.


Florida’s legislature has adopted – and her skeptical governor has nonetheless signed into law – a first step in the legislative arena.  The new law bans bump stocks, raises the age for buying rifles to twenty-one, and provides money for arming selected teachers and providing more security officers on campuses.  The National Rifle Association has already filed suit against the age provision on the grounds it unconstitutionally discriminates against people already considered old enough to carry a gun in military combat.


Personally I note the nation and her courts are unbothered by similar laws related to hand-gun purchases by the under-twenty-one community.  I also note the utter lack of evidence that a young adult is somehow more likely to kill than an older person.  I have no clue how such a lawsuit might fare in the courts although I think the Florida law is a viable step in the right direction…legislatively.


“Legislatively” is the operant term here.  The simple solution remains to provide whatever support and incentives – from carrots to sticks – to enable law enforcement and school officials to do their jobs per enforcing existing laws meant to inhibit violence of all kinds.  The longterm and even more crucial solution is for us as a society to engage the question of how we managed to create a culture in half a century that finds more and more of its people grabbing for a weapon to answer the chaos of their lives.


But there I go again with that old repentance-is-a-privilege-leading-to-life theme of mine.


James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, and Kingdom in Pursuit – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at




By James Wilson


(Editor Note:  This article was first published in 2017 and is reprinted

to accompany its own Part 1 as a memory item.)


“So, if the drought was God-caused in order to get our attention and its end is God-caused because of our repentance, why did parts of California flood so severely the entire Butte County region had to be evacuated as the nation’s second highest dam stood on the verge of collapse?” is a legitimate question.  It is answerable in terms of God’s larger purposes – in general and for California in this season.


Southern Calfornia sustained a massive earthquake in 1994.  Fortunately it hit around four in the morning, when death and injury would be minimal.  It centered in a location with virtually zero hospitals, residences or schools but – and yet – an abundance of film studios.  Reality is the heart of the worldwide pornography industry was concentrated in the northwestern San Fernando Valley in 1994 and virtually all the damage was to the studios.


Christian leaders were asked repeatedly if they thought the earthquake a judgment of God.  They dithered and bent backwards to say the Lord neither judges nor punishes.  That – they said – was all Old Testament stuff and was either incorrectly understood in the first place or superceded by the love of Christ.  This was a tremendous display of cowardice; they saw public condemnation headed their way if they offered a Biblical interpretation.  The porn moguls got the message and responded to it with clearer eyes; most studios shut down for about seven months.


How would we know if the quake was a judgment?  It is not rocket science.  The Bible does not depict a vindictive God – not in New or Old Testaments.  He has mercy on those who flaunt Him for decades and centuries; he wounds or even destroy at only the last extremity.  He says He is slow to anger and quick to forgive at the slightest sign of repentance.  The Northridge earthquake fit His revealed profile as it sent a message the industry received…for a time.


God’s larger purpose is always to give life, and that abundantly – as Jesus says in John 10:10 – always remembering life to Him and life to us are not always coterminous.  Yet this message reverberates through the prophetic writings that came before the Savior; there is no prophet who does not speak so.  The message is in fact so pervasive I believe Jesus wept over Jerusalem not alone when he said as much just prior to His death; when He told the story of the landowner (Luke 12) who was so obsessed with building barns for himself he forgot to thank God for his wealth until he died without an heir, I am sure the tears flowed.  He ends the story with, “Little children, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.”  Is this a vindictive God?


Our God is passionately determined to claim the people He created for His purposes and His way of life.  Death is not just the wages of sin but its very essence.  Our God does not stand idle – forever – while we destroy the gift of life and its recipients.


We all too often forget or ignore that idolatries He so despises actually hurt people; Canaanite and Fertile Crescent gods demanded everything from slavery to human sacrifice.  Yet God keeps warning and encouraging His people to return to Him and treat one another the way He treats them.  Fast forward to Northridge, California, 1994 and let’s recall the well documented facts on pornography – the increases in domestic violence in users, the reduction of human beings to objects for gratification, and the relational breakdown at all levels in families of addicts – and porn is as addictive as any chemical.  Everybody touched by the user suffers and often non-user victims don’t even know why their lives spiral out of control.


His other great purpose is revelation of Himself in each thing He does; He says as much more than sixty times in the Book of His prophet Ezekiel alone.  In the earthquake He trumpeted His loving presence as much as His passion for righteousness.


It was no different a decade later.  California leads the nation in elective abortion and suicide far in excess of her proportion of national population; in 2015 she legalized assisted suicide despite overwhelming evidence it was medically unnecessary and subject to widespread abuse.  We are the high tech capitol of the US as well as the heartbeat of agricultural innovation; we worship our own ingenuity.  We remain a center for pornography production and now a nexus for human (sex slavery) trafficking.  The divorce rate – and its companion absentee or no parenting of children when parents split apart – is more than proof of our penchant for breaking covenant.


Leaders came together in 2015 under the umbrella of PrayNorthState, the California Governor’s Prayer Team, and the National Day of Repentance.  The commitments we made were part of a broader coalition of efforts to address the drought in all areas of the California culture – many of which predated our plans.  By the time planning was well under way word had reached other west coast states and we were joined by leaders in Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska.  The fifty-two days of prayer and fasting corresponded to the fifty-two days it took the biblical Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem’s city wall; they spanned the period from the anniversary of mankind’s first walk on the moon – July 20 – to the launch of California’s Day of Repentance on the anniversary of her admission to the US union – September 9.


We wasted little time beating ourselves for our many transgressions; authentic repentance – while acknowledging sin – is much more about re-focus on God and His plans for us.  We did declare our repentance was over our own poor track record as a Church rather than about some hypothetical “others” we might think uglier than ourselves in the eyes of God.  When the day came we led two meetings inside the California capitol building while other leaders conducted their own observances throughout the state.  We worshipped God in these public venues, asked His forgiveness, and made reconciliation with various groups we had wronged over the years.  Each state sent small delegations to the others as feasible – I visited Oregon and Washington myself – and so we blessed one another by our presence.  The people praying – over the fifty-two days, the five days of rolling repentance, and before and after – represented not a majority of the population but a critical mass in the sense of the yeast that leavens the whole loaf.  And the fruit has been tremendous.


In addition to the amazing snowpack we have seen around two dozen major films and several television series celebrating the love of God in Christ – both well made and well received – in the past eighteen months.  Mainstream films like Risen, Hacksaw Ridge, and the newly released The Shack, tell great stories that glorify God and offer His grace to those who will receive it.


California has seen an uptick of innovative start-up businesses in the face of what remains the most bureaucratically dominated state economy in the United States.  Even government has acknowledged His presence – despite the continued passage of such laws as assisted suicide – as legislative leaders call increasingly on His Name and invoke His Word in their deliberations.  I have this information from economic leaders on the one hand and members of the legislature on the other.


Reality is the drought is over in more ways than one.  Just as real is the lack of repentance on the part of the vast majority of God’s people; my own denominational leader – for example – refused to participate in the Day of Repentance because he could not comprehend how the love-for-Israel clause in the proclamation had anything to do with the overall repentance – re-focus on the whole revelation of God in Christ – we were urging.  So many of us fail to recognize understanding follows repentance rather than preceding it – or else why would Jesus say He is Way, Truth, and Life.


This My-way-or-the-highway God of ours permitted flood to accompany abundance because He still has not had His way with us.  He threatened the Oroville Dam and then preserved it after engineers said it could not hold to illustrate His strength perfected in our weakness once again.  We are not out of the woods but He still endeavors to lead us by streams of clear water and abundant pasture.


The good news is God has shown mercy and grace to California and the west coast through the Day(s) of Repentance.  This event is a climactic moment in a process that predated it and must continue and escalate from here on.  Just as Hollywood was already producing the wonderful films released post-Day, so many were worshipping and praying and acting on what they heard long before God gave me a vision for a day and others the idea for a fifty-two day prep period.  But Hey – it was never about us anyway; it’s all about Him and returning to Him as we recognize His voice.


James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, and Kingdom in Pursuit – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at



By James Wilson


In thirty-plus years as pastor and priest I never refused to do a wedding unless I saw an evident lack of commitment.  Pre-nuptial agreements were an immediate deal breaker; they pre-empt total commitment.


Pre-nupts are common these days and not thought controversial in many circles.  For anyone unfamiliar with the term, these agreements lay out in advance limitations on the financial vulnerability of the wealthier partner should the marriage fail; they say, in effect, if things don’t work out you get this much and no more.  For my money, a marriage limited by a pre-nuptial agreement is not a marriage, and I have twice put my money where my mouth is.


These agreements are defended as reasonable efforts to guard against catastrophic consequences for the wealthier spouse in case of divorce.  They are rationalized as necessary for the protection of assets and even business partnerships.  They are described as moderate methods to limit vulnerability to exploitation by a grasping former spouse.  Truth is, there is nothing of common sense, rationality, or moderation in these instruments.  They simply undermine the concept of covenant shaping marriage.


Marriage is – by definition – a lifelong covenant of faithfulness and mutual vulnerability.  Anybody who watches the evening news knows marriages fail at the alarming rate of one out of two – whether the partners are people of faith or not.  What ought to be just as obvious is marriages do not fail due to excessive commitment but rather from too little of that essential.  Entering a covenantal relationship with a built-in damage control clause is acknowledging failure before faithfulness is begun.  Why would anyone imagine a half-hearted commitment strengthens rather than weakens the bond?


Think about it.  “His friends are more important than me.”  “She confides more in her parents than in me.”  “He won’t give up his porn.”  “She spends every dime I make whatever I think about what we can afford.”  He keeps in touch with old girlfriends; she keeps in touch with old boyfriends.  Whether things have deteriorated into physical adultery or not, the “for instances” I describe are evidence of a less-than-wholehearted commitment to the marriage.  Abuse of any kind – physical, emotional, spiritual – is evidence self-gratification for the partially committed is more important than the self-sacrifice of the thoroughly committed.  It does not require a Bible to make the logical case for the damage done via semi commitment – of any kind – to the covenant, whether or not divorce is the outcome.


At the same time, we could do worse than check out what the Bible says; it has been around long enough to warrant a hearing.  This witness calls for nothing less than unvarnished commitment from the beginning when it says a man shall leave his father and mother to become one flesh with his wife, and vice versa.  Jesus repeats and makes even more explicit the same idea when He calls it a feature of creation itself. Paul – speaking in the Name of God Himself – describes the marriage covenant as one of mutual sacrifice and submission in his letter to the Ephesian Church later in the New Testament.


None of this is about restricting freedom or regimenting behavior.  It is a declaration that if we would have the happiness promised in marriage – the logical fruit of falling in love and watching that love ripen past initial excitement – we need to go all the way with it.


Okay, say many, but Christians are as likely to divorce or make themselves and their spouses miserable as anyone else; this Bible stuff just doesn’t work.  The ready answer is what G. K. Chesterton wrote a century ago.  He said Christianity is not a project tried and failed, but a project never really tried.  The fact Christians so often fail to fully advantage their opportunity says nothing about the opportunity and volumes about half-hearted effort.


Am I saying anyone undertaking a pre-nuptual agreement is guaranteed a failed marriage?  Of course not; I have no working crystal ball.  But I am saying to couples contemplating marriage, in the spirit of Master Yoda, “Do or do not; there is no trying.”  A marriage in which people seek to protect themselves from too much vulnerability is a recipe for failure to one degree or another.  As that great American philosopher, Mr. T, once said, “Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.”


Considering a pre-nupt?  Consider the risk of total commitment.  Marriage, like faith, is about dying to self in favor of larger life.  We need to either do it or let it go altogether; larger life comes only from the real thing.


James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, and Kingdom in Pursuit – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at


By James Wilson


In the face of a serious record of achievement for Donald Trump’s first year in office the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in 2016 continues to command center stage.  Into this feverishly boiling pot comes the release of a House Committee memo – known as the Nunes Memo after House Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes – to stir the pot past the boiling point.  I have to say it’s about time.  It is past time to get to the truth.


The Intelligence Committee conducted its own investigation into the allegations – and the accusers.  Let it be understood nothing in this memo is based on conjecture or inference; the memo summarizes the documentation and testimony of multiple witnesses – many of whom resisted answering.  Among other things the memo discloses the FISA – Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – court approved the FBI request for surveillance (spying) on American citizen Carter Page, an associate and adviser to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.  This in itself is unremarkable if the citizen in question is reasonably suspected of espionage.


What is remarkable is that on four occasions the FBI concealed information from the court that tended to exonerate Page.  The committee has proof the warrants were justified by contents of a dossier compiled by discredited British agent Christopher Steele – this was not disclosed.  Neither was it disclosed that the investigating agents knew the dossier contained material that was “uncorroborated” and “salacious” according to fired FBI Director James Comey and other witnesses.  (It was claimed the FISA application was corroborated by Michael Issikoff in a piece for Yahoo News but his only source was the dossier.)  The dossier was actually composed and paid for by the Clinton campaign; it is strongly suspected then-President Obama was involved in the decision making.


Steele himself confessed to Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr his passion to see Clinton elected; this renders information obtained from Steele questionable but understandable inasmuch as his dossier is now known to be fiction.  In addition, Ohr’s wife worked for Clinton and the Democratic National Committee; this too was concealed.


The two lead investigators for Mueller – until their recent removal from the case – were lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.  This couple’s fear of investigating Hillary Clinton is public record; they believed she might retaliate against them if she became President.  Yet they did investigate Clinton; the whitewash coupled with a letter exonerating her of criminal wrongdoing written before the investigation is also public record.  If they were that terrified of Clinton they should have recused themselves from the investigation; instead they met with Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to discuss an “insurance policy” against Trump’s election – however chilling its sound in a democratic republic and whatever it might be.


The Nunes Memo blows the whistle on all the evident corruption implicit in the

Mueller investigation from its beginning.  It was biased at best and an obstruction of justice in its own right at worst.


Democrats on the committee published their own counter memo.  While putting a different spin on things it does not challenge the Nunes revelations.  Whatever the facts per Russia may be, Donald Trump was never going to get anything but mob justice from career bureaucrats who feared – correctly – that he was not one of them and therefore someone who did not respect their entrenched and entitled power.  The Nunes Memo simply reveals and summarizes the current lawlessness of the justice establishment.


That is not all.  The Mueller team has finally issued its first indictments.  Thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian corporations stand accused of meddling in an American election – and rightly so.  Yet not one of the accused has any connection to the Trump Campaign, Transition Team, or Administration.  Not one.  (Some will say, “What about the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates?” but these men are accused of tax fraud and money laundering; there is no connection to Russia in either case.)  Both of these outcomes were eminently predictable in any fair-minded investigation.


What to do?  We can start by requiring integrity from elected and appointed officials; that act from us necessarily includes doing our own homework and bearing our own responsibility as free citizens.  We can continue by coming down from our own high horses; if government is corrupt it is because citizens are willing to tolerate corruption as the price of being left alone to pursue personal agendas.  We can finish by seeking forgiveness of a forgiving God for our personal corruption.


While we are at it we can seek courage from a courageous God, and national resurrection from the God Who resurrects.


James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, and Kingdom in Pursuit – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at



By James Wilson


“Success is not final.  Failure is not fatal.  All that matters is the courage to continue.”  These words of Winston Churchill conclude Darkest Hour, the film chronicling the May 1940 period when Churchill’s indomitable spirit stood between Hitler’s onslaught and the death of Great Britain and – perhaps – the Western World.  Reading and digesting them is worth the price of admission.


Gary Oldman’s performance is likewise worth the ticket in.  This movie boasted no poor performances, but had there been only Oldman it would have remained a great and inspiring work of cinema.  Its inspiration is not for history; it is for we who navigate the present season.


Darkest Hour is largely true to its history.  Churchill did populate his cabinet with rivals, believing as Abraham Lincoln that iron sharpens iron and it is good to keep competitors close.  He was not popular early in the war and his own party thought him dangerous; leadership tried to force him to negotiate with Hitler rather than risk obliteration.  He and Clementine really were mutually reliant and deeply intimate despite what revisionists may say.  He and the King became good friends, although not as dramatically as it is portrayed.  And Churchill did periodically leave his security behind to seek spontaneous guidance from real people in real streets, although the pivotal scene in the London subway/tube is fictionalized.


The only important feature of the film that is simply not true would be picturing Churchill as indecisive prior to that subway vignette.  He knew his own mind and spoke it decisively from day one with respect to fighting for right and victory; he knew no alternative.  His courage to continue coupled with his understanding that success is no more final than is failure fatal offer great hope for our time and circumstance.


Churchill led his nation through World War II – a war about fundamental questions of whether the world should be governed by hate-filled tyrants or by egalitarians committed to democratic cultures.  Like the previous world war Churchill’s war addressed fundamentals but not ultimates.  Today we are embroiled in a war against the forces of hate and domination of all – once again – but this war is a war of ultimate concerns.


The people who call us their enemies believe the war is all about faith.  Their faith requires the conversion or death of those who do not share it.  It does not get any more basic, fundamental, or ultimate than this.  Reality is the war is about competing faiths.  This is not a concept initiated or wanted by the western democracies, but it does stare us in the face and spit in our eye every chance it gets.  The question for us is do we know what and Whom we believe and are we willing to sacrifice our comfort for the sake of our identity.


This is not about death or conversion – or impotency – for those who disagree with us as it is for the jihadis and those who sympathize with them.  It is not about hatred from our standpoint as the revelation that forms us does not preach hatred; to the contrary it commands love of enemies in bold type.  It is, however, about our identity as a culture of diverse people groups.  The question remains, are we willing to sacrifice comfort for the sake of identity.  The answer is we can be human with or without comfort – Churchill demonstrated as much backed by his people – but without identity there is no humanity.


The good news is the western world has a leader who shares much character with Winston Churchill.  He is cantankerous and thin-skinned, and perfectly convinced he is right.  He sees himself as a populist, though it is a rare populist who looks outward internationally and rightward domestically – Churchill was another.  Though popularly elected he – like the Brit – is thought unpopular.  Like the Brit he holds a maverick style of Christian faith and endures much abuse over it – both the maverick and the reality.  His brinksmanship on immigration, bullheadedness on tax reform, and will to walk forward on Israel demonstrate the bulldog determination for which Churchill was famous.


I refer of course to US President Donald Trump.  I do not have a clue whether he will prove to be the Churchill of our time; the jury has not even gone out, let alone returned with a verdict.  I do know this man who endured as many spectacular failures as radical successes is comfortable with the reality success is not final, and failure is not fatal.  And he has demonstrated the courage to continue as though that were all that matters.


James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, and Kingdom in Pursuit – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at


By James Wilson


When the Obergefell decision came down from the Supreme Court in 2015 I rejoiced.  Of course I was saddened over this assault on the Biblical and nation shaping definition of marriage as a sacred covenant between a man and woman – the one leaving behind father and mother and cleaving to the other.  I was just as saddened at the assault on freedom of faith to swiftly follow.  Yet I rejoiced at the opportunity to reclaim marriage as just such a covenant from the cage of legal contract into which it has fallen over centuries of abusive history.


Many prominent defenders of traditional marriage as normative – mostly leaders in the Body of Christ – made loud declarations it was high time for pastors and churches to get out of the marriage business.  “Let us,” they said, “send couples to a justice of the peace for a state sanctioned marriage.  Later they can come to us for a blessing on their union if we can offer that blessing in good conscience.”  I have heard not a peep on this topic since it was broached in 2015.


Actually, that’s okay with me.  What we do not need in our culture is one more reactive measure to express our rage at injustice.  To simply stop doing weddings because we might be subject to pressure to conform or persecution if we do not – and these things are already happening – is to achieve nothing of positive benefit. On the other hand, to employ the present crisis as a springboard to genuine recovery of understanding marriage as the covenant – not a state-sanctioned contract – it was always meant to be would achieve a great deal of positive benefit for all.


Reality is our capacity for covenant is what differentiates human beings from animals.  In its three primary features a covenant is voluntary, reciprocal, and developmental.  Animals are either social or solitary by nature; human beings choose to be one or the other on a case-by-case and even moment to moment basis.  Animals tend to do what has been done to them; failing that they can bite or run.  Human beings respond to situations in a reciprocal manner; if bitten they may bite back but would more likely consult a lawyer.  If blessed they would seek a way to bless in return that was suited to the one initiating the blessing.  Finally, animal relationships are governed – and limited – by instinct. Human relationships are developmental in nature.  They have a shape – are we friends, colleagues, or family – but where they go within that shape is like a Dr. Who’s telephone booth with more space inside than outside.  Covenants share these features with humanity; contracts share the limitations of animals bound by instincts.


There is no enforcement mechanism in a covenant, unlike a contract.  It depends entirely on the goodwill of the parties.  Yet it has served humanity well since we stepped out of the Garden or the caves – take your pick.


Do not misunderstand.  I am not calling for the abolition of state sanctioned marriage; the institution does provide social stability as well as any other secular institution can do.  Yet I can ask, “Do we live in the stable and cohesive society legal marriage claims to provide?”  One can answer this is precisely because decisions like Obegefell and the high rates of divorce and just living together out of wedlock are the culprits but this begs the question.  What we have is a culture staking its life on fallible law while we live in a world making its life in terms of committed fidelity to a graciously covenantal life.


Neither am I advocating couples living together outside of marriage; typically such liasons lack commitment.  But I am saying marriages that include abuse, infidelity, and lopsided priorities in the interest of one partner pervert the concept of covenant I believe was provided by God Himself in the beginning as a central feature of the creation.  I am saying in the present crisis church leaders can lead the way to the resurrection of marriage as it is – instead of the way the uninformed indulge their fantasies of what might be nice to have.


In the scores of marriages I have officiated those in which the couples took their preparations for marriage – as opposed to a mere wedding – seriously were those with the best chance of enduring blessing.  Let the Church leave the wedding business to the county clerk – to satisfy all righteousness – and let us prepare and bless a relationship of covenant where we can – in good conscience – that carries not the sanction of law but of authentic grace.


James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, and Kingdom in Pursuit – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at