Diagnosis: Hope

the lostkerryman

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The word “hope” here goes way beyond the same concept of  “hope” we have in English because it is literally “a knowing assurance based on spiritual truth as evidence.” But one can only operate in that kind of hope with a mindset that is literally “renewed.” How else can you place faith in something impossible to everyone else around you? When you’ve been told there is no hope, there is only hope to line yourself up in the place God calls righteousness. That only comes in a right relationship with God. And a right relationship can be tenuous unless it is fed that substance called faith.

The bible states that it is impossible to please God without faith. Living a life of faith requires trust in what many will call crazy. But, you know what? I…

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the burning earth

somewhere between New Straitsville, Murray City, and Shawnee, a fire is burning, burning the earth beneath, unquenchable. way back in 1884, a group of striking miners, sent a “take-this-job-and-shove-it” message to their bosses by sending several coal cars with oil-drenched timbers deep into the mine. at that time, the known vein of coal there was at least 14 feet thick, but nobody knew where it stopped, where it branched off, nor when nor how it would die out…

finding the evidence of the still-burning fire is like a patchwork mystery, especially since much of the surface now is under the authority of Wayne National Forest, and the government would rather you not off into the woods hunting for signs of it…


….but it is still burning. I know, I smelled the sulfur coming from what at first looked like a cave…

but when I stepped near the entrance and took a look inside, I knew I had discovered a mine. so now, over a hundred years later, I knelt down near white sand and saw a tree limb covered in an ashen-like material inside the mine opening.



less than a mile down the road, mounds of coal still lay exposed on the ground, and I caught a whiff of the pungent scent of burning coal…


a few locals- descendants of miners- told me over the years that you could tell where the fire was if you went looking for steaming patches of ground not covered by fresh snow in the winter time. but asked if I could find remnants of it any other time of year, they said that it was unlikely anyone would find it today.

do you think they may still be embarrassed that their ancestors set the earth on fire?



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a family of flowers near an empty house


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best seat in the house…

This unusual bird sat on the edge of a second story gutter, across the street from my view….on a busy street this morning…as a police car, then an ambulance, rushed past….and I ducked back into my vehicle. A utility truck came around from the back alley to the street to check the telephone lines…while we both looked on, me waiting for traffic to die down, the bird scratching at the metal gutter above. still, the bird had the better view, as I got out and walked across the street…


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The Face-To-Face Social Network

…after an unpleasant gaze at the fields of facebook, I have resolved to readjust my thinking as I go about my random social interaction daily. one can only take so much of fake this and fake that before becoming bummed out and bug-eyed…and I am up to here with it (sorry you cannot see where “up to here” is, but I trust you can use your imagination…especially those who grew up on “SpongeBob”).

back in the day…in the old days…well, back in olden times, I could simply pull myself aside somewhere, consult with my brain concerning the matter, and act upon my heart’s or mind’s decision. that was then, this is just “somewhere else.” sure I can communicate with people, but….will they like my visual profile while I am sitting at the table on the far side of the restaurant? will they give me a thumbs up if I smile at no one in particular, and pretend to be on my tiny ear phone? how can I get a “wow” out of people? why oh why do I need validation?! ugh…

…it is a lonely world out there…one where various strangers find themselves walled-off in mental realities that may or may not include yours. one in four people seem to be having trouble dealing with reality on a daily basis, which means that I may or may not get a rational response from the guy right behind me at the deli counter. he may have the mental acuity of potato salad, which does me no good if I want to strike up a social experiment…I mean “conversation”…about the abnormally low price….$1.99…of the “Homemade” Cole Slaw. it is also why…some women do not find me attractive. ever. the part of their brain compartmentalizing “responses to males” has a never-ending run time error. then again, if I was a Labradoodle, I might get a better response.

still…I am confident that this new Face-To-Face social network should prove more interesting than at least half of the status updates I have read in the past two billion years…or, more likely, two weeks. in fact, in my social experimentations so far, I have discovered that people are actually learning to respond to a man speaking directly to their faces! maybe, just maybe, the world will be a better place for it, and we will be able to commune on a higher level than a mouse click. if not, I might as well buy a one way ticket to some remote atoll. and live out my life like Tom Hanks did in “Castaway.” please God, please God, no.








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looking back over the past year, as it slips into memory and history, I sit here pondering what has happened. whether it is because of age, insight, or too many trips around the merry-go-round, I am a bit depressed about the sad state of a part of the human race. some time while I was sleeping, someone totally brilliant decided that…

haircuts that look like a chain saw or beaver attacked the back of the neck are championed by some rural hairstylists 

the ladder of success is too often measured by how many birth fathers contributed to your immediate family

there is gaining devolutionary thought that the Earth is actually flatter than a 13 year old French runway model

pedophilia not only exists, but is practiced by sick politicians someone actually elected

I sit here lamenting because time is short on this Earth, and fewer and fewer wake from their own deluded fantasies. To wake one, even one, from falling off into the abyss, is worth it. But some, even those who we have held closest to us, have left us suddenly, in an instant gone.

So, it is with a sober heart I wish you a peaceful new year. and I pray that this year, you will come to know why you were created, and what God has in store for you this year.

Slan go foil…






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prelude to a promise


Though snow cover the whole world white

and death descend on the land like night

this season will pass ‘neath a coming storm

to wake us anew in a heavenly form…






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Autumn answers


seeds waiting for new life in the coming cold


and leaves joining others in sleep


there are some who choose to color the dying landscape


and refuse to blend in with decay







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questions in the dark

when I was twenty-three, I thought life was chocolate cake…

yet so many sobering faces confronted me

from the crowd that lived the longest-

no sunshine in their veins,

nor smiles in the topo lines etched in flesh 

their passing like the scent of a faded gardenia

or an old musty beige house,

sadness lingered like a mist about them.


solace was my grandmother’s friend

but a clueless mystery to a boy of nine

clinging to the porcelain edge while taking a bath

as if the flood of memories would invade the bathroom

and I the drowning captain of a big white boat…

but solace slept with sadness

and I saw her sleeping at an instant

when the grey eyes drooped and the mouth dropped.


but it terrified me at six when I tried to remember the sobbing sound

that came when I closed my eyes and opened my ears in the

dead of night, the purple black.

listening to the snoring wheezing of an old one in the room beside me

and wondering if it was catching, this sobbing sound-

would I get it too when I became as crusty as the old woman?







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i would rather be a beautiful baguette than a moldy mouthful of beaten-down bread


going to church on Sunday…for the building up of your spirit…is like going to the day old bread store and buying a bag of moldy bread. sure, the product is still there, but you get a stale loaf with major rot going on inside…

wouldn’t you rather go to a good cook’s house, have a little baguette with kosher wine, and a nice supper with people who love God and want to live that out every day…every night?

wouldn’t you rather keep your money for someone who you know really needs it, instead of putting it in an offering plate or offering bag, and wondering if the typical 2% church outreach fund actually made it to someone in need?

wouldn’t you rather read the Word of God for yourself, guided by the Spirit of God, who shows you things that the pastor would never see because he or she is so focused on the Mosaic Law (which is history for us)?

if you actually think about what you read in the New Testament, without the voice of pastors and the five fold heresy blabbering on and on, surely the Lord will show you the truth…

and the truth will set you free, while the pastor is still stuck inside that cardboard box, unable to climb out of it…






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