Obama Depressive Disorder

#Politics Monday – But talking about politics is getting too easy, so today I am going out on a limb to talk about mental health instead. In fact, I am going really far out on a limb to predict a soon to be recognized mental illness which should be identified by the medical professionals any day now.

I am confident the medical world will recognize it, because I see people all around me suffering from the effects of this dread disorder. Since I am the one that first identified it, I get to name it. So I am going to call it Obama Depressive Disorder or ODD for short.

People cursed with ODD will exhibit the symptoms of depression initiated by an overwhelming case of fear of what Obama and his policies are doing to this country and to them personally.

The most severely afflicted people will believe that Obama is the antichrist. That he will never leave office at the end of his term and from there they expect he will eventually rule the world for the devil’s glory. These people may be preparing to become survivalists, stockpiling food and guns or similar behaviors.

The mildest cases will exhibit a certain paranoia about being identified as a racist simply because they disagree with the president’s policies. The primary symptom for these individuals is to fail to speak out no matter how ludicrous they find the actions of government.

The more common, middle of the road cases will demonstrate financial symptoms. The severity of the financial indicators ranges from setting aside additional savings in an attempt to pay for whatever fines, fees, or taxes they are about to incur, all the way up to long term unemployment. In these more severe cases you can expect to see loss of assets and bankruptcy.

There are some disturbing medical symptoms too, specifically people seem to be throwing up their hands and giving up on trying to keep up with their own medical care, and especially a fear of red tape associated with future medical care. I have even seen medical professionals abandon their studied field to avoid such legal constraints.

The executive branch might quibble with my description of ODD, preferring to think of it as WRD, that is W’s Recessive Disorder. But by their own declarations, they already fixed WRD, so personally I think Obama needs to own this one.

I will be in my office when you’re ready to give me my Nobel Prize for medicine. I probably will not be clutching an automatic handgun and hoarding canned goods. Probably not.



The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue,  Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack and Departure Orders.


Most of the men changed into civilian clothes on the way down to the planet’s surface. A couple wanted to show off their dress uniforms and new ranks before making that change. Jamison was in the latter group.

The major’s insignia would help to quiet his father’s insistence he should have stayed home and taken his position on the sales floor. Even before the vessel landed the men gathered together their possessions and prepared for the mad rush out the doors, through the crowds, and into the arms of loved ones.

Jamison had a plan though. He was going to hang back, let everyone else out first in the rush, then he would walk out in his pressed uniform. He thought he had more than earned the right to make an entrance.

The shuttle made a familiar hissing as it prepared to touch down. The ship thumped, followed by a slight jolt as the landing gear settled. Finally the bay doors opened. Dropping a long gradual ramp, almost all the men ran down.

Jamison and the other man in uniform chose to march out, standing tall. Both of them stopped cold as soon as the crowd came into view. In the traditional greeting area, there were only about a eight people. No large families, no children at all.

Among this small group were an abundance of tears, but few if any tears of joy. The sobs of both the men returning home and those who came to pick them up were delivering an unexpected crescendo of misery. The man beside him saw a sister in the small group, and bolted to her waiting embrace.

Jamison saw no one. No father. No mother. No brother. No sister. No one.

He collapsed on the ramp. Tears threatened his vision, but he held them back. The effort draining all other life, so he simply melted down to a heap. Squelched emotions since his rescue now overwhelmed him. When his head hit the ramp he closed his eyes. Not because he was unconscious, but because he didn’t want to see anymore.

In a moment, someone shook him. It was Johnson. He looked totally different in civilian clothes, but it was him. Johnson explained he was due some shore leave. He invited Jamison to stay with him for a while. Jamison refused, he had a home to go to. He wanted to see his family. Johnson explained as gently as he could, he had neither.

Eventually Jamison did stand back to his feet. He realized then MPOs had been waiting around the perimeter. Each of the men had walked out to meet with one. All except Jamison, his MPO, a bossy but pretty, young woman, had broken ranks and come to him at some point while he had been down on the ramp.

Captain Chambers was examining him with a device of some kind. As she moved the device up to his head looked straight into her green eyes. He realized she resembled his kid sister. Again he fought back the tears.

He was the last one cleared to leave the landing area, Johnson took him to the rail and they headed into the city. Jamison looked around the ads on the train. Almost all of them were advocating either the Kilkians or the Dibolocos.

Jamison studied several ads, both sides claimed to be better than the other. Both claimed their side would grant humanity some level of relief. He wondered, what humanity needed relief from. After a while he looked back across the almost vacant railcar at Johnson, who was watching him.

Jamison said, “It’s almost as if they were two political parties trying to sway voters.”

“Yep, it’s a lot like that. Only this never ends. And after years of promoting their cause people can get fanatical.”

Jamison asked, “What do you mean?”

“We are coming up to the edge of town. It’s going to look a lot different than you remember it. About ten months ago we had bad rioting between the factions. Lots of people died.”

The two men stood side by side, staring at a devastated city. Some sections were burned out. Others were apparently vacant. And at first there were no businesses. But then they entered a section where business thrived. There were bars, strip joints, houses of prostitution and even drug houses with big neon signs proclaiming their business.

“Is that legal now?”

“No, but it doesn’t matter what is legal when there is no law enforcement.”

They moved past these neighborhoods and came into another that looked a little better, although it was almost as vacant. Johnson led the way as they disembarked and walked across a vacant street to a big unmarked building.

Johnson approached the door and it clicked unlocked as he approached. Before entering he looked up at a camera above the door and said, “This is my friend, Jamison. He will be staying with me for a while.” After a moment a display beside the camera said, “Welcome, Identity registered.”

When they entered Jamison was shocked to find he had entered a room kind of like the food court at a mall. Quite a few people were milling about, many of whom greeted Johnson. A little further in were some pretty traditional looking shops.

They found an elevator, and went up three floors. Down the hall to the right and soon they were in Johnson’s humble flat. One bedroom, no kitchen, a pull out bed in the main room Jamison was free to use for as long as he wanted.

The Practice of Dressing

ID-100119732For my Theology Thursday comments this week I wanted to address an issue which is beginning to come up a lot again. The issue is should a Christian dress up to go to church or not?

The question seems to be, “Is it better to dress up for church?” But the deeper issue is, “What does God desire from believers?”

I believe it can be demonstrated from Scripture, God expects reverence. Disrespecting God should be avoided at all costs. However, it is impossible to separate culture from respectful behavior, and cultural signs of respect change over time.

The common thought today is dressing up is no longer a reflection of the inner condition of the heart. Therefore, God is not concerned with what we wear, but what we have inside of us. This line of reasoning makes the whole discussion about us. It should be a discussion about Him.

If I was invited to the Washington to have dinner with a politician I respected and liked, if I was there to promote a cause I really cared about. Would I dress up?

If the answer to that is yes, then I have proven I should dress up for the Lord. But I am pretty sure in today’s world a lot of people would not dress up. It is no longer a standing rule that such events require formal dress.

If I give you a conclusion, it would be this—follow your own conscience. Like so much of Christianity, we do not make the decision for the person next to us, we make the decision for ourselves. When we find those around us make a different decision, well that’s okay. On some issues it’s not a matter of who is right and who is wrong,


(Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Shape of a Hero

In my book, The Storeroom of the Heart, I have a chapter about heroes and what they say about society.

“The original Superman reflected what a hero should be. Someone we lift up and point to, someone we desire to emulate. If we portray them as unrealistically good, then so be it. This provides us with a higher calling to strive for in our society.”

Consider today what you want in a hero. If you prefer for them to be tormented souls with a dark secret in their past, what does that say about you?


Pigmy Nuthatch

Pigmy Nuthatch

This is a picture of a pigmy nuthatch. This very small bird is extremely social, and it nests in cavities in trees.

One record of the bird tells of it having excavated a nest in a quaking aspen. The bird chose a spot in the middle of one of the dark scars on the white trunk. This placement allowed the mother bird to hide the cavity by perching in the opening with her dark back facing outward. This allowed her nest to escape detection by a marauding red squirrel.

The nestlings were safe because they had a gatekeeper that kept them safe.

For believers, Jesus is our gatekeeper. He stands between us and the evil that would seek to harm us. Nothing is able to get around Him. As long as we continue to cooperate and stay behind Him we are safe.

But for most of us this does not mean we will remain safe. The danger is not an enemy able to get around our protector, it is dangers we allow in some other way. Perhaps through a partnership with the world, maybe it is a compromise with sin, or it could simply be a decision to violate their Christian values.

How much simpler life could be if we didn’t work against our protector.

“So Jesus said again, “I assure you: I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:7-10 (HCSB)


One of the great challenges for our country is what to do about immigration. From my perspective the entire debate is missing the mark.

There is immigration law defining who can come into our country, who is allowed to work, and who is allowed to seek citizenship. We spent remarkably little energy discussing these laws, and we are gutting our ability to enforce these laws, even though they are at the heart of the issue.

Instead we spend a lot of time discussing peripheral issues. For example, here in Arizona there has been a major discussion about who is allowed to enforce the law. Many would like to convince us that immigration law can only be enforced by immigration officers.

I wonder what it would be like if we used this kind of rule for other categories of crime.  Only the DEA could enforce drug laws.  Only the ATF could enforce gun laws. Only the Commerce Department is allowed to ‘notice’ if a person is smuggling.

That idea is ludicrous. If a local law enforcement officer finds a meth house, a grenade launcher, or a secret pocket full of diamonds we would all expect them to respond, make arrests, report and pass the criminals on to the correct department. So why do we claim immigration laws have to be handled differently?

Another example is we spend a lot of time discussing the plight of long term illegal families. Returning family members to country of origination splits up families, ruins careers, and derails education.

But again, what would it look like if we used similar logic on other forms of law breaking. The meth house would argue it cannot be shut down because there are too many dealers on the street who would be put out of work. The illegal arms dealer would point to his children who would be harmed if he went to jail. The diamond smuggler would claim law enforcement was racially profiling him.

We would be better off if our primary focus was on the immigration laws. Making excuses for those who break the laws is counterproductive, and harassing those who enforce the laws is silly.

As a Christian I would like to see more people able to come to America and make a new life for themselves. But also as a Christian, I would like to see them do it the right and legal way.

Flash Fiction Contests

A couple of weeks ago I put an entry into the Flash! Friday contest. It was a first time effort and to my surprise, it won. That earned me the right to post a badge on my blog, so here it is.


I have entered this contest a couple of times since. I find it fun, but not so much as an honorable mention since that first piece. If you want to try your luck in this contest here is a link.  http://flashfriday.wordpress.com/ They post a picture each week as the prompt and the judges vary each week.  Be sure to read the full rules and the specific instructions of that weeks judge if you enter.

This week I also entered another contest called the Mid-Week Blues Buster. This contest puts out a song as the prompt. It was my first time in this contest and I won it as well, earning the right to display their badge.  So here it is.


If any of you are interested in entering this contest here is a link to it. http://thetsuruokafiles.wordpress.com/ This contest also gives a prompt, although instead of a picture they use a song as the prompt.

So just for fun, here is a copy of my winning entry.  If you want to see the song that prompted it follow the link above and find it there under week 31 posted on Sept. 17.


Amber’s Ride

Amber looked at herself in the mirror for a long time. Eventually she said a quiet goodbye. Talking to yourself must be the first sign of sanity, she thought.

She locked the shabby studio apartment behind her and headed on foot to the bus station. She put her hand over the $178.50 in her pocket, just to be sure it was still there. She had heard of golden parachutes, but her pocket full of cash was more like a frayed rescue line.

She didn’t stop by the diner where she had worked. There was nothing in this town she would miss. Not her apartment, not her neighbors, not her co-workers, not her customers. Most of all, she wouldn’t miss the person she had become. She herself, was the only one she had said goodbye to.

Amber was going home. Home where she had been miserable under the constraints of decent society. Where her mother tried to run her life and succeeded in sheltering her from every bit of fun she had ever tried to have. Home where the rules felt like a strait jacket on her free spirit.

She had left to try and get away from all of that. Now she was hoping to find it again.  All of it.

She had left with an abundance—savings account, credit cards, even a trust fund once she turned 21. She would return with nothing but tough lessons learned. After buying the necessary tickets she had $5.37 left for meals along the way. Hardly enough to cover the five meals over the two days of cross country repentance.

On the bus she read a pocket New Testament. She ordered off the dollar menu at stops. She avoided talking to the other passengers. And she cried, quiet tears, full of old sorrows and new joys. But mostly she planned how to not be the person she had said goodbye to back at the studio.

When she reached the city, she realized she had made no arrangements to get from the terminal to her home. She had no cab fare, no remaining friends, no means but her restless feet. So she walked, it must have been about four miles. Each block passing a little faster than the ones before.

At the door she grabbed the knob and turned, but of course, it was locked. So she rang the bell. She couldn’t stand the wait so started knocking, until her mother opened the door.

For a second they just stared at each other. Then they embraced, cried, and finally, they spoke. At first both were cautious, but soon there was no stopping the flow. They kept on speaking for the next thirty years, and when it came time to bury her, Amber did so, without regret.

Departure Orders

When I first started writing this series I was expecting one or two episodes.  Now though I am much more drawn into the idea and have a plan for how to carry it forward through several dozen episodes.  If you have not seen any of Jamison’s other adventures you should probably go back to last week, where I linked each of the previous chapters.  Last weeks episode was Dibolocos Attack.  Follow that link back if you need to read the story from the beginning.  This week, chapter five called Departure Orders, begins below

The next morning the men were fed in their quarters. Then they were ordered to wear their dress uniforms and were marched out to the parade deck. Standing at full attention in ceremonial order they were given departure orders.

The officer in charge was a commander he had seen in the dining hall prior to the attack, but Jamison didn’t know his name. Apparently he didn’t care for the formalities of introducing himself. He launched right into giving the commands. They were pretty standard for the Colonial Defense Forces.

Each man would be given one month of paid shore leave as well as full pay for their time off world. They would be rich, although probably not for long.

Within the first twenty four hours they would have to be interviewed by a Med/Psych Officer. The MPO might require more appointments during the month. By the end of leave they would have to make a decision as to whether to join the civilian workforce or to continue serving in the CDF. But, the MPO could override their decision if they felt necessity required it.

When the commander was done, he did not give the customary dismissal order. Instead he ordered them to wait for additional informations from Captain Colofer.

Jamison’s knees unconsciously lost tension and bent forward, but he caught it and snapped them back straight before falling. He became aware his hands were trembling and pressed them into his legs for a minute to steady them. This left a damp handprint on each of his legs.

Two enlisted men opened the doors and in walked Captain Colofer. He felt anger, abundant amounts of it. She was his scapegoat. Jamison blamed her for everything related to this war they did not choose.

Her speech was not long. She spoke aloud rather than speaking into their minds. She was encouraging the men to align themselves with the Kilkians. Each person would make a personal choice. They would not be under orders to align, nor would government instruct them how to choose.

Jamison wasn’t really listening. He considered it the details of a battle he did not wish to be a part of. He had parents and siblings waiting back home, He had time to make a new life. He could be a farmer, or maybe he would join the mines. Only thing he was sure of was he would not join the family business and become a retailer.

Colofer’s tone sounded as if she was about done. “The choice is yours, but understand this, if you fail to choose, if you try to remain neutral you will, in fact, be aligning with the Dibolocos. If any of you wish to make the choice to align with us now, you may indicate your choice by taking a step forward.”

Not a single man among the seven survivors stepped forward. Jamison wasn’t surprised. In his mind aligning with the Kilkians would be like accepting a suicide mission.

Colofer seemed to slump a little, she turned and looked at the commander and he gave the order to be dismissed. The men immediately turned to gather their few belongings and head to the shuttle.

On the way down into the atmosphere the men began to talk casually among themselves. For the first time since being picked up there was humor, bravado, even laughter. Jamison didn’t laugh, he didn’t even talk, but the sound made by the others returning to normal behaviors made him feel good.

He was coming home.


When someone reads about Dorothy being blown into the land of Oz by a giant tornado, we accept that in this other place there would be munchkins, flying monkeys, and witches names after the four primary points of the compass.

When we read about four children transported to Narnia we are perfectly fine with talking animals and other mythical creatures living in this other place.

But when we consider God we often fall short because we fail to embrace this sense of otherness. God is not like us. He is different enough from us to have been able to create us and the world we live in, simply by the power of His spoken word.

Everything we interact with in our place was created for us by God. This by itself implies God must be wholly other, totally different than us.

So placing the constraints we live under on Him, is nonsensical. When people say things like, “you cannot be three and one at the same time,” they are failing to give God the necessary sense of otherness. What is hard about this sense of otherness is it is a totally open set. We know some things about what God is like, because He has told us. We also know a quite a few things about God where He told us what He is not like.

The goal of theology is not to know everything about God. It is the goal to know Him personally, experientially. But the leap of faith many people struggle with in understanding God is allowing this sense of otherness.