In regards to Phil Robertson


If you didn’t already know, A&E has suspended Phil Robertson from the show Duck Dynasty indefinitely due to his comments in a GQ interview.

He spoke about his own beliefs and his own opinions saying that the Bible was against homosexuality and he himself did not understand why people would be drawn to someone of the same sex.

Well, I have nothing to say about homosexuality.

This post isn’t about what I believe, or contradicting what you believe.

To be completely honest, I know what I believe and I could care less what you believe. You have the right to believe what you believe and I have the right to believe what I believe.

This post is about the fact that America is so sensitive.

America is like the playground in fourth grade, where children get offended by the smallest stuff.  Me, I didn’t grow up in America in the fourth grade. I lived in Mali, West Africa.  I was the only white kid in the neighborhood and I loved soccer, so I would go out and play with all my buddies on the street.  We’d have to jump over the sewer that ran freely in the middle of the street every once in a while.  They all played barefoot. My feet were too sensitive, and the one time I tried to play barefoot, I got cut up on a rock.  From then on, I left the the barefoot to those whose feet were used to it and not sensitive.

America today is like my feet in the fourth grade. So damn sensitive.

My point is this: It does not matter, and why does anyone care that a Louisianan with a beard believes that homosexuality is wrong.

So what?

Are we seriously so childish that we care? Why does it offend you that he said he believes homosexuality is wrong?  This post should be more offensive, because I’m calling anyone who got offended a sensitive fourth grader’s foot.

A&E should not have suspended him because he never said that his views were shared by the network. The LGBT movement should not be offended because his views about what the Bible said were true, and he believes those views, and anyone saying he cannot express that is against religious freedom.  Also, anyone who believes he shouldn’t say what he said is just way too sensitive.

Come on America, when the founding fathers decided to revolt against Britain, those that were sensitive decided to stay loyal with Britain.

It should not matter what he says or believes. If what Robertson said offends you, maybe there is a reason that you are insecure in your beliefs.

The New Beginning


This week started a new semester, a new chance at learning new material.  New and old faces pass us in the hallways, and this is a new beginning for The Cross-Between.  This summer, I worked almost every day.  I didn’t go on vacation, just worked and worked, I didn’t even leave town, except for some training I underwent.

You would think it would be a great time to write, to get a lot out of my head, but it wasn’t. I was always tired from work, I was always stressed over finances, and when I wasn’t tired or stress, I’d go outside with a lighter, and make a bonfire in the fire pit, or go hiking on the AT (Appalachian Trail).

This summer I failed as a writer.

But the summer is over, and now in school, I feel that the rhythm of school and the focus of learning gives me ideas to write about. The rush makes me want to write, and when I write for class, I find ideas within that I could write about here.  I will be writing a lot this year. I have two communication writing classes, one on news writing, the other on editorial. I’ll be writing in the opinion section for the Liberty Champion (the school newspaper), and here, The Cross-Between.  I take The Cross-Between seriously, and even though my summer didn’t show it, this semester is going to be a great time to regurgitate the things I learned this summer.  One thing I learned, make sure when you create a hootch out in the woods during Army training, use a mosquito net along with the ponchos.  Stupid mistake!  I could have enjoyed many more hours of sleep with a mosquito net.

This new beginning to the school year is also part of my long journey to becoming a successful and published writer/journalist.  The next step, is my journalism degree, and after that finding a humanitarian type organization or magazine somewhere around the world that needs a journalist. On this journey, I will have The Cross-Between, and keep writing. This summer was a three month break, but I’m back and will keep this adventure going.

The Coup – And a Salvation


Red dirt littered the outside of the Land Cruiser as we rolled down the unpaved road. Smoke billowed from beyond some of the buildings, and we knew exactly what it was from.

“Do these skinnies really think it’ll help ‘em?” Jonah asked from the passenger seat. “How’ll this change anything?”

I kept my gaze on the road and my left hand firmly on the wheel. The coup had started, and we were in charge of the ambassador’s escort. The embassy was still another five-minute drive, and since the mob blocked the roads by lighting tires on fire, we would probably have to change our course once or twice.

“I don’t agree with the tactics,” I said, “but I can empathize with them. They want an opportunity. Just a chance at a life where they don’t have to wake up hungry.”

Jonah rolled his eyes. “What does that mean? You’re only saying that cause you grew up here! What a sympathizer! You’re emotionally attached t’these… these… people. That’s what’ll get you killed, bro.”

“I’m not attached. It’s more of a respect. I know many of them personally. They’re good people.”

“Yea good people.”

Black smoke poured from a group of locals. I slowed down as I neared them and searched for an avenue of escape. Just as I noticed a hole, the group hurried to throw a few tires and douse them in gasoline. I brought the vehicle to a stop and put it in reverse. A few of the men from the mob ran at us. They slammed their machetes against the metal hood of the Land Cruiser. One man threw a rock barely missing the driver’s mirror.

“Find me another route,” I exclaimed as the vehicle’s engine revved and threw us backwards.

“Ay turn right here. Don’t see any smoke this way, hope they haven’ hit the alleys yet,” Jonah said as he messed with the GPS.

I whizzed down the side road as quickly as the SUV could, hitting bumps and unintentionally testing the suspension system. My view to the rear was a barrage of red dust, and if we were being followed, I couldn’t tell.

A thin man came running into the road and forced me to slam on my breaks. Jonah hit his face on the dash, and cursed a few times with my name in mind.

“Don’ stop. Don’t ever stop!” Jonah yelled.

“I know him,” I exclaimed. “Samuel! Samuel, it’s me!”

The man stopped running and jogged over to the car. “My friend, I am so glad,” Samuel said through a bright white smile. “I did not know if you were not going to get through. Many people out here is very violent right now.”

“Get in!” I said, slapping the outside of the door a couple times.

Samuel jumped into the back seat and pulled the door closed. I heard his seatbelt click, as I pressed down on the accelerator.

Jonah held his brow, “Am I bleeding?”

“No, you’re good,” I proclaimed eyeing him for a half second.

“My friends, it is not good out there. The radio say that the president is dead. General Sanogo is now the man, and he say Americans is why the famine is real bad.” Samuel’s face looked worried. “I do not believe this. But my friends, are you leaving now?”

“Yes thank god, sick’uh this place,” Jonah said still holding his forehead.

“We’re trying, Samuel, but we have to get to the embassy first. We won’t leave without the ambassador,” I said looking Samuel in the eyes through the mirror.

We dodged roadblocks, forcing us to take back roads. We passed soldiers with AK’s, and heard the scream of bullets. No one had shot at us yet, but if they did, all we had were our issued handguns.

“Jus’ five mags,” Jonah Said.

“What?” I asked.

“We only brought five magazines of ammo.” Jonah repeated loudly.

We needed to get to the embassy so we could suit up, and face the challenges head on. I was tasked with radio communications, and I would have had my radio equipment with me, but we had been sent out on short notice earlier in the morning to search for a specific American student living in town. Our task had failed, he wasn’t there, and the two-bedroom loft had been ransacked. We hoped he had found a way out, and hadn’t been grabbed by the mob.

I grabbed my water canteen from the cup holder and held it over my shoulder. “Samuel, drink buddy, you’re still breathing hard!”

“Merci mon ami,” Samuel said as he grabbed the bottle and took a few gulps.

Jonah turned his head towards me.

“He said thank you,” I explained. My right hand pushed the stick into second gear as we turned a sharp corner. “Samuel and I have been friends for many years. Samuel taught me to play soccer, and how to fish using just a line.”

Samuel laughed. “Yes I remember. You got scared one day because a crocodile came near so… so you ran home. You wouldn’t come back for three days,” Samuel chuckled and emphasized the day count with three fingers.

We both laughed.

“Jus’ shut up,” Jonah exclaimed. “This isn’t the time.”

It was true, it wasn’t the time for us to be reminiscing on the past, but for those few seconds, it sure felt good to remember.

“Take this left,” Jonah said. “It’s gonna lead us back t’a main road and I don’ see any smoke. Hope it’s clear.”

I took the turn, and about 500 meters in front of us was a group dancing in the road. They had their machetes up, and a few soldiers waved their AK rifles in the air. I screeched to a stop. As I turned the vehicle around, we must have hit a nail, or a broken beer bottle, because the right front tire blew, throwing the rim onto the rocky ground. The mob had already noticed us. They chanted and sang, and did it while nearing us at an increasing pace. We jumped out of the car, and looked around for an escape. The open road was not an option because we knew farther back the masses would be on their way.

“This way, this way.” Samuel yelled at Jonah and I as we both checked our weapons. He had found an alley between two cement buildings and it seemed to lead to another road.

The mob noticed our pale skin, and was at a full sprint. Their cries were no longer that of freedom, but had turned to hate and anger. I knew that they believed full heartedly in what the radio had said, and that they would have no mercy on us.

“We’re behind you. Go!” Jonah told Samuel as he ran behind the African man.

“Coming,” I yelled out bringing up the rear.

We turned a few corners, sprinting as fast as we could. This labyrinth of cement walls had to lead somewhere. We could hear the mob getting closer and heard bullets being shot off as we ran into the alley. Jonah turned and weaved. We just did our best to stay on his heels. He gained a small lead on Jonah and I, but we still followed.

We turned a corner, and Samuel was stopped. He stood with his hands on his head facing a cement wall blocking our path. It was way too high for one person to reach the top.

“Help each other up! I will calm them, and will tell them you are not to fault!” Samuel exclaimed confidently waving both of us towards the wall. Breathing heavily, he turned back towards the path where the mob would soon be visible.

“No. Samuel, come with us, we can get all three of us up and over this wall. We have time.” I yelled at Samuel who was already facing away from us.

“Samuel, come on. You don’t need to do this,” Jonah yelled.

Samuel ignored his comment.

“We gotta go, if’e won’t come with us, then there’s nothing we can do. We must leave!” Jonah explained.

Samuel looked back one last time. “It will be alright. Goodbye my friends.”

I knew Jonah was right, and thankfully nodded at Samuel. I knelt down to allow Jonah to use my knee as a foothold.

We made it over the wall, and just in time. We heard the cries as they reached the wall. And then everyone went quiet. Samuel was yelling at them and speaking to them in French.

“What’s he saying?” Jonah whispered as we kept up a jog.

“He said ‘they are not at fault’, and I even think he said we were Canadian. He is telling them that we were here to help the people.”

The people started shouting out again. It was hard to tell what they were saying, but whatever it was, it wasn’t peaceful. Then a man hushed the crowd, and eventually, his voice was the only one we heard.

“Mon homme, je suis officier pour le général, où sont les blancs?” The man said. “Le général veut leur parlé!”

“I work for the general,” I translated, “where are the whites, the general wants to speak with them.”

“Sont pas là!” Samuel protested, his voice echoing.

“They aren’t…” I started.

“I got that part,” Jonah interrupted.

A few of the members started yelling, and soon everyone was in an uproar.

The man hushed the crowd again. “Traître, tue le!”

The crowd went wild, and a few faint yells could be heard. I knew they were Samuel’s.

A tear formed in my eye.

Jonah noticed. “What? What is it?”

“They killed him.” I muttered, “Why would he give his life for us?”

“I don’ know,” Jonah answered. “I didn’ even respect ‘im.  But he… he was a good man.”

 

 

 

 

 

Fruition: A Spoken Word Poem


Hey ladies and gentlemen, my good friend and spiritual leader, Joshua Healey, made a video that expresses God’s truth and promise.  I encourage you to take 2 minutes to watch his video.  I have below the video the lyrics from this spoken word poem, and if anyone has any questions about what he means in this video, I encourage you to get a hold of me.

Fruition

By Joshua Healey

 

I am miserably lost, I just can’t find it

It’s like being a million miles from the treasure,

And yet you’re standing right behind it.

I’ve been searching everywhere for acceptance,

But all the more I am denied it.

And even on my brighter days,

It’s impossible to hide it.

See, how can I conceal this canyon inside of my soul?

While I am under this rolling erosion, a hopeless implosion,

Rotting away, like there’s no shot today,

For me to be whole.

Constantly feeling purposeless, like setting a thousand glamorous goals.

And reaching every last one, without ever understanding my role…

This cycle eats away, like a chewer’s mouth full of Skoal.

Alone, Like the unredeemable separation the south feels from the North Pole.

And trying to make everything appear ok, it does nothing in this cold,

It’s like taking manure and coating it in gold.

With all due respect, please don’t provide me with directions, where I will be told

To grab a copy of “finding happiness for dummies”, I’ll never be sold.

 

Well perhaps this diagnosis is a wretched discontentment,

Disconnected from true value, from true meaning left bereft.

Where life violently rips any piece of peace we’re left with.

And kicks us to the curb,

We are disturbed by our versions of happiness that turned out to be myths.

Misled by the talking heads and their masquerade of tricks.

Meanwhile the media loudly whispers “cheap thrills will make you rich”.

And this, I beg to fix.

But I can’t be in the mix,

I must trust in Something greater to free me from this glitch.

Like Someone who knows the sting of a thorn, but loves despite the prick.

Is there a Source of meaning,

In a lost and unraveling world, a stitch?

If there was, I’d be fixed.

I’d be broken but I’d be fixed,

In the same exact way you fix a fire with broken sticks.

And such meaning I wish to find,

Because all my life, these “meanings” I’ve missed.

No doctor do I know to tote an antidote like this.

To medicate my identity,

One that’s lost in deep remiss.

Well perhaps we’re searching for restoration,

From the God that we’ve dismissed.

But refused to admit we missed him, because our hearts are sick.

But I guess some of us would rather die from this disease than feel the healing prick.

 

So we cry out,

What I covet, what I hold, please remove it from my fists.

I beg of you to take it though my flesh resists this risk.

Please bring to fruition within me, the work that pierced Your wrists.

Breathing meaning into my life, the only meaning that exists.

 

By Joshua Healey

The Brother who was Called James


James; the brother of Jesus Christ.  An amazing character in the saga of the early Christian church.  But James didn’t start out as an amazing man, but as a confused individual who knew nothing of God’s plan for his life.

James wasn’t a great leader at first.  He didn’t believe in the person of Jesus Christ. He didn’t believe Jesus, his own brother.  He thought Jesus was confused and mentally unstable. He was ashamed of how Jesus presented himself, and he couldn’t understand the motives behind Jesus’ work.

Jesus actually hints at James’ unbelief when Jesus says in Mark 6:4 (NLT), “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.”

James was a nobody, and the doubt in his heart kept him from seeing the amazing works that Jesus was performing daily among the Jews and gentiles.  His doubt separated him from God, and that separation is an experience that is prevalent in many of us today.  We are yearning for something, but we just can’t quite figure out what IT is.  God calls us to put down the doubt, throw away the lack of faith and and let God pick you up from the ashes.

It took a while for James to realize this.  Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t enough, The rumors and eye witnesses of the apostles claiming they had seen the risen Jesus wasn’t enough.

But when Jesus appeared to James, he realized he was wrong the whole time.  Jesus’ appearance to James isn’t in the gospels, but it is in 1 Corinthians 15:7 (NLT), Paul writes that Jesus “… was seen by James, and later by all the apostles.”

James went on to be the overseer of the Christian church in Jerusalem.  He became an amazing leader, and ultimately was martyred for his belief in Jesus Christ as the messiah.

But now, we are full of doubt, as humans, we want to be able to see so we can believe. But nevertheless, God is still there with open arms.  It doesn’t matter if we go to church every day, or have never stepped foot into one.  It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, where you’ve been or how you’ve done it. God loves us all, and Jesus’ mercy is for all.  God’s grace is stronger than doubt, and definitely larger than any sin you or I have ever committed.

If you want to learn more about God’s grace, I strongly recommend looking up Romans chapter 5, and if you want to ask me questions, ask me, and I’ll get in touch with you.

 

The Bowing Knee


Thunder calls the lightning break,

‘Till my bowing knee start quake,

Answer back for His blood drained

That mourned the Son been slain.

Oh come you who lack faith!

He laid here for death to taste,

And three days death was faced,

But the tomb was not embraced,

Just our transgressions erased.

                        -Zachary Pinkston