All posts by DanCalabrese27

Self-indulgent glamour weddings have gotten so expensive, this woman went broke just from attending them

My sympathy for her goes only so far.

You can tell your friends no when they ask something of you that you don’t have the means to give. Or you can get less vain friends.

But I do have some sympathy because I can see how this would start as something whose impact would seem limited, only to see it go on and on and on – and it’s hard to know at what point it’s OK to tell the next person it’s just enough already.

The story is that 30-year-old Georgina Childs reached that stage of life when all your friends are getting married, and that roped her into attending 20 weddings (plus 12 bachelorette parties) in four years. It wasn’t cheap:

She says she’s spent more than $12,600 going to all these weddings. I translated that from pounds because Childs is British. A story in The Sun says the average cost for a guest to attend a British wedding is now over $400. And on seven occasions, Childs was a bridesmaid, so she had to pay for all those dresses too.

The bachelorette parties (which the Brits call “hen dos,”) tend to be destination parties where you have to pay for flights and hotels as well as whatever it costs to actually go to the party.

I guess if you move in a social circle like this, the problem is that one expensive wedding simply gives rise to another one. One friends sets a standard by having a destination wedding in Tuscany, and the next one has to go to Paris, and the next one has to go to Milan, and so on and so on. If you just get married at your local church, dude, lame.

We’ve talked before about the phenomenon of the wedding that becomes all about the self-indulgence of the event rather than commitment of two people to each other in vows offered before God. It’s one reason young people are delaying their nuptials so long. They think they have to save up so they can throw one of these super-spectacular, destination blowouts. The church wedding with a modest meal in the church basement afterward is unheard of. The purpose of your wedding is to show off, pure and simple, and to impress your friends more than your other friends were able to do.

At one point should someone like Georgina Childs start telling her friends she can do it anymore? I understand it’s easier to say that than to follow through. It’s hard to tell the 16th friend who got married that you won’t attend her wedding when the 15 before her got your time and your money. And if your place among your social set is important to you, do you fear being ostracized if everyone else is still showing up for these shindigs but you’ve stopped?

Of course, real friends wouldn’t throw you over for a reason like that. But people with a sense of what really matters might not throw these gaudy events.

My son is well aware of the fact that, when he gets married some day, he will face no pushback from Angie or me if he wants to elope. Now, whether he could talk the bride into that is another matter entirely.

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Answering the atheist’s attack on a prayerful plane crash survivor: ‘You think God loves you more than Jennifer Riordan?’

The would-be plane crash is the doctrinaire atheist’s favorite example of the implausibility of God’s goodness. And it’s unfalsifiable. It usually goes something like this:

If the plane doesn’t crash, and people thank God for saving them, what about the people on the plane that did crash? Weren’t some of them praying? That must mean God’s distribution of beneficence is uneven and unfair, thus rendering Him unworthy of our praise.

And they’ll use it just as determinedly in a situation like the one that occurred in Philadelphia yesterday, in which a the engine of a Southwest Airlines jet exploded in mid-air, necessitating a crash landing. Only one passenger died – New Mexico resident Jennifer Riordan – and her death resulted from injuries she sustained when her window broke and she was partially sucked out of the plane.

I wrote about this earlier on Herman’s site, and included the same video I’ll show you here, which was shot by passenger Marty Martinez:

The video’s had more than a million views already, and many have remarked about how quiet the people in the cabin are. The speculation is that a lot of them are praying, and I’m sure that’s accurate, even if it’s not universal.

Presumably those who prayed to God that He would spare their lives later gave Him thanks because they did, indeed, survive.

So that brings us to the inevitable atheist objection, which we’ll go ahead and deal with proactively since you know it’s coming:

If you’re thanking God for saving you, are you suggesting God loved you more than he Jennifer Riordan, since he didn’t save her?

The quick answer is no, obviously not, but it worth some thought as to why the answer is no. There are two primary reasons – one having to do with His sovereignty and one having to do with the unmerited character of His grace.

Regarding His sovereignty, the response to the argument is simply that God doesn’t have to operating according to man’s notions of fairness. You don’t have to argue that Jennifer Riordan deserved to die, or that God loved her less, to recognize that God was entirely sovereign over her life, and was under no obligation to extend it any longer than He saw fit.

How ever many years she lived, they were a gift from God. No one of us is entitled to a day beyond what we’ve already received, so if we don’t receive any more days, we’re in no position to claim we were wronged.

But the matter of grace, I think, is the more powerful one to apply here.

When gratitude is really pure is when we put the focus of it entirely on the giver of the gift, and realize that it has nothing to do with us, the recipients. Even when you mention “I don’t deserve this” in the course of thanking someone, you’re tainting the gratitude a little because you’re bringing your own merit into the equation. You’re implying that if you had deserved it, you’d have less reason to be grateful.

But God’s gifts don’t work like that. When He gives them to us, it is all about His love and nothing whatsoever about our merit. He will sometimes delay the release of a blessing until we show we can be trusted with the gift, but even so, once He releases the gift it remains entirely a demonstration of His love and generosity.

So the person who thanks God for saving his or her life in a plane crash does not presume to elevate his or her own importance versus someone else who died. Indeed, the very fact that the gift of survival was irrelevant to your own merit is what calls all the more for the gratitude. You had no claim on God’s action to save you. No one did – from the best person to the worst. Everyone who benefits from His intervention must recognize that it was all about God and not at all about them.

So why is the answer no? That it isn’t true that God loved you more than He loved Jennifer Riordan? Because being loved by God is all about His goodness and not about our merit, and because no one of us is in a position to demand that God’s love take a certain form – not even the form of another day of life.

We can ask, and He will often grant our requests. But can’t put conditions on Him, and we can’t tell Him that if He really loves us He’ll do this or that for us.

That’s why pure, real gratitude is entirely focused on the giver of the gifts, not on the recipient nor even on the gift itself. And it’s why, if you do receive a wonderful gift from God, your only response should be to seek to honor Him with it. Because that’s what it was for in the first place.

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Apparently this person exists, is called ‘she’, has HIV and is an entertainer of some note

If you’ve never heard of Conchita Wurst, I’m sorry to take that happy fact away from you. I can be a real jerk like that.

But sometimes I think that we as humans have a duty to tackle basic questions such as:

What on Earth is this?

If you watched that, I know, you’re mad at me for tempting you with it, aren’t you?

Maybe most Americans have never heard of “her” either.  Conchita, if that is really his/her/its name, is in the news today as a result of being HIV-positive, which I guess is no less shocking than the mere existence of this person.

I suppose this is where some of you are going to jump all over me for “hating” Mr./Ms. Wurst, and tell me that’s not what Jesus would do or whatever. Except that I’m not hating, or even criticizing, so much as I’m marveling at the cultural phenomenon that is . . . whatever this is – and what it says about where we stand culturally.

Let me put it in this context: Remember Culture Club? Featuring Boy George, who made an effort to look like a woman and honestly did a pretty good job of it? I actually kind of liked them.  Here, in my estimation, is their best work:

Boy George was unquestionably one of those cultural figures who challenged norms, and there were certainly reasons for Christians to have issues with the way he did so.

But everyone knew what Boy George was: A man trying to look like a woman. Everyone talked about it, debated it and, in the case of many people, criticized it. He had his defenders too, of course.  But no one felt obliged to pretend it wasn’t unusual.

In the case of Conchita Wurst, everyone has to pretend there is nothing unusual about what you’re seeing, but the gender-bending drivers of modern culture not only demand your acceptance, they also demand your complete fealty to the idea this sort of thing is not even remarkable. If you even treat it like it’s kind of different, you will be pilloried and destroyed.

You must call Conchita “she.” You must act like the combination of the beard and the evening gown is as ordinary as a dude in blue jeans. No variance from this orthodoxy will be permitted!

You know darn well that “Conchita Wurst” is a freak show, but you must keep it to yourself. In fact, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll retrain your mind to stop even thinking there’s anything weird about it.

Thoughtcrimes are very serious.

Anyway, I pray that this person’s health will triumph, and this his/her/its assault on clear and obvious truth will fail. And ultimately that God will deliver him/her/it in Jesus’s name from whatever is going on here.

Which is perfectly normal!

Isn’t it?

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




‘Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’ now says he didn’t, and is suing over the exploitation of his name

Some of you get mad at me about this, but I have to be honest about what I believe:

I believe in Heaven. I believe in eternity. I believe everything Jesus and the writers of Scripture told us will come to pass. In a soon-coming piece I’ll be more detailed about how I read what the Bible tells us about all this, but suffice it to say for the purposes of today: I am absolutely a believer in all of it.

That said, I am deeply skeptical of the stories you hear about people who claim to have died, visited Heaven and returned. I am not talking about visions, which is why I believe Bill Wiese. Visions are real and they come from God.  I’m talking about people, like Colton Burpo, who claim they actually died, actually went to Heaven and then came back.

I am very skeptical of these stories because there is no scriptural support for the idea that this ever happens. Paul was caught up in the Third Heaven, but that was a vision and he didn’t die.  These people claim they died in an accident, or on an operating table or whatever, and went to Heaven only to be revived by the doctors and wake back up.

To this day I have not heard a single such story of this genre that convinced me. A lot of Christians get mad at me for this skepticism because they see these stories as a way to help convince people that God is real and the Gospel is true. I get that, but I think it’s a mistake to lean on such stories.

And confirmation of my thinking comes from none other than 20-year-old Alex Malarkey, who was the subject of the book “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,” which was co-authored with his father Kevin. The story was that Alex “died” in a car accident, went to Heaven and came back, but was left paralyzed. The book became a New York Times bestseller, but publisher Tyndale stopped selling it four years ago after Alex recanted the whole story, saying he made it up to get attention and was subsequently exploited by his father and by Tyndale as a result.

Now he’s suing Tyndale for the use of his name in pushing the book:

Malarkey has sued on the grounds of defamation, financial exploitation, and publicity placing a person in a false light, saying that Tyndale went forward with initially publishing and promoting the book knowing his opposition. He states that he did not write any part of the book or consent to the use of his name as a coauthor and story subject.

The suit states that he has “never been permitted to read the contract, nor to review any accountings provided under the contract, he refuses to acknowledge that the contract ‘is in effect and binding,’ now that he has reached the age of majority.”

New York Times bestseller, The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven sold over a million copies and launched several spinoff products based on Malarkey’s story.

Tyndale said in a statement issued this week that it no longer promotes the book or makes it available for sale, and that it has complied with the terms of the book contract.

“This is a terribly unfortunate situation, which deeply saddens all of us at Tyndale,” said Todd Starowitz, the publisher’s spokesman. “Despite the claims in Alex Malarkey’s lawsuit, Tyndale House paid all royalties that were due under the terms of our contract on his book, The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven. Tyndale took the book out of print in 2015 when Alex said that he had fabricated the entire story. Any books still available from online vendors are from third-party sellers.”

The recent lawsuit reiterates Malarkey’s denial of the heaven story portrayed in the book, alleging that his father was the one behind the story and that he does not remember what happened while he was a child in a coma after the accident. Malarkey, a quadriplegic, lives with his mother in Ohio, collecting Social Security.

This sounds very much like the case of the Burpos, in which father Todd was the driving force behind turning young son Colton’s tale into a branded media phenomenon. Colton’s story was supposedly air tight because he came out of it knowing things he couldn’t have known any other way. For one thing, I don’t know if anything like that actually happened or if Todd Burpo merely claimed it did, but I do know that the Holy Spirit can give any information to a person He wishes, and it doesn’t require a visit to Heaven.

It will probably be difficult for Alex Malarkey to win this suit against Tyndale because Kevin Malarkey was legally acting as his legal guardian at the time, and Tyndale most likely followed the law in making a business deal with Kevin Malarkey. Alex’s issue is really with his father, but his father isn’t the one who has the big pockets.

Regardless, the fact that Tyndale has completely stopped selling books about people’s so-called experiences in Heaven should tell you something. Tyndale has also come to recognize the problems inherent with these stories.

As for the objection many Christians make that we should not cast doubt on these stories, as they help to win believers, I disagree.  Only sound doctrine should be used to win believers, and as Alex Malarkey himself wrote four years ago:

When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough.

Exactly. All the testimony you need of God’s eternal power, and of Christ’s redeeming grace, is in the Bible. Whether people believe it or not is a matter of their hearts. Fanciful tales of white fluffy clouds and sitting on Jesus’s lap add nothing to the power of God’s own testimony in His word.

(Just to be clear, I am not casting aspersions on signs and wonders that really come from the Holy Spirit. I am not going cessationist on you. But these things have to line up with Scripture, and these Heaven-and-back stories do not.)

Nothing in God’s Word backs up the idea that this ever happens. If you were revived on the operating table, or on the street with a defibrillator, then you weren’t dead in the first place. God doesn’t make mistakes. He wouldn’t take you to Heaven if you weren’t really dead, and unlike the doctors and the EMTs, God knows for sure whether you’re going to die or not. If He decides you’re done, no medical professional is going to override His decision.

I get that many of you want to believe these stories. But there’s no need to believe them. Heaven is very much for real even if Colton Burpo didn’t go there. Boys, girls, men and women go to Heaven even if Alex Malarkey didn’t, which by his own admission is the case.

Don’t get caught up in heartstring-tugging tales that presume to improve on what the Bible already offers us. You might get stuck having to explain why you celebrated a lie, when you’ve known all along the one testimony that’s indisputably true.

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Why do nonbelievers insist on sending you ‘healing vibes’? Because they believe more than they want to admit . . .

I’m sure you’ve seen this. I see it just about every day on social media. Someone is open about a health issue they’re dealing with. They may or may not ask people to pray, but they at least tell you what’s going on.

Some people reply by telling the person they are praying, as you would expect believers to do. But others offer something else: From “good thoughts” to “healing vibes,” they’re offering up something that isn’t prayer, but at least in their minds, isn’t nothing either.

How should a believer view that? I’m not raising the prospect of your arguing with them or telling them their sentiments are powerless, since that wouldn’t be very nice and it’s not a fight you will do any good by picking.

The more interesting question is not what to say to the senders of good thoughts and healing vibes – just thank them; there’s no need to elevate the praying people over the vibe-senders, and the praying people aren’t looking for that anyway – but rather how we as Christians should understand what they’re doing and why.

Here’s the question I find most interesting: If you don’t believe in prayer because you’re not sold on the notion of an unseen, supernatural entity who can answer them, then why do you feel the need to offer an expression of what amounts to faux prayer?

The praying person has every expectation that there is a real God who hears the prayer and can act in response to it with power. That makes the offer of prayer an entirely rational one in the context of the Christian’s belief system.

But the nonbeliever doesn’t buy any of this. So why not just say, “I hope you recover”, rather than presume to take some action that hints rather strongly of the supernatural you profess not to believe in?

I think they believe a lot more than they’re willing to admit, even if the belief is only in their subconscious.

Romans 1:18-20 contains a rather astonishing declaration about man’s knowledge of God:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Look at the three phrases I put in bold. The first declares that men “hold the truth in unrighteousness,” which directly contradicts any claim that you’re not in possession of the truth of God’s existence. The second declares that the knowledge of God is already manifest in you, because God showed it to you, so you can’t pretend to be unaware. And the third one asserts that God’s eternal power and Godhead are clearly seen and understood by the creator.

Three verses clearly assert that no one can claim to lack the knowledge or understanding of God’s existence, because he has made it clearly seen and has made this knowledge manifest in you.

Now when I’ve made this point before, atheists of course deny it. In no way do they believe God is real! That’s what they insist. And it may very well be that that’s the belief they operate under in their conscious mind, having used all kinds of false doctrine and rebellious notions to push that manifest knowledge down into the subconscious.

But it’s still there. You may reject God, but you do not lack the knowledge of His existence or His eternal power, no matter how determinedly you deny it to yourself and to others.

So that brings us back to the vibe-senders. Why are they sending good vibes if they don’t really believe in the supernatural? Because they do believe in it. They won’t admit it to themselves or to others, but the possess the knowledge of God and His eternal power. That’s why they can’t just stay out of it when Christian declare that we are praying. They know it’s not good enough to just say “good luck” or to express their hopes. They don’t really believe there’s no point to prayerful expressions. The human soul manifestly knows better, and they don’t feel right just sitting there offering nothing that might invoke a higher power.

But they are still in full rebellion against God, and they aren’t willing to acknowledge His sovereignty, so they concoct a counterfeit version of prayer that will allow them to be in the game without abandoning their rebellion.

Prayers are ridiculous but vibes work? The idea seems pretty absurd, but it stems from the vibe-sender’s manifest knowledge that the supernatural is real, and can absolutely be harnessed to help a sick person, combined with their absolute refusal to bow a knee to Ruler of both the  natural and the supernatural.

So how should we understand the sending of those healing vibes? We should recognize it as a manifestation, however faint, of that person’s knowledge of God’s eternal power as established in Romans 1:18-20 – and pray for insight as to how we could help that person build on it.

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Three die from ‘synthetic weed’ laced with rat poison, and I’m having a hard time seeing them as victims

You never want anyone to die. Of course. It’s a life lost and it’s a tragedy. It grieves God, so it must grieve me, or I won’t be aligned with Him.

At the same time, how can you escape the obvious lesson from this? If you’re not screwing around with mind-altering chemicals as your chosen form of “recreation,” you’re not dead – or in the hospital bleeding – like the people who freely and knowingly indulged in this garbage:

Three people in Illinois have died after experiencing severe bleeding linked to use of synthetic marijuana, health officials say, and a chemical used in rat poison has been detected in at least one of those cases. According to the Illinois Department of Health, 107 people have been treated for severe bleeding linked to the drug since March 7, mostly in the Chicago area.

Officials say one of the deaths was a 22-year-old man who died of excessive internal bleeding March 28, CBS Chicago reports.

Although an official cause of death has not yet been determined, an autopsy detected the presence of brodifacoum, a deadly anticoagulant used in rat poison, which has recently been found in several cases of synthetic marijuana use in Illinois. It can cause severe bleeding, which can be fatal.

“This poisoning is unique in that its effects can last weeks to months. Symptoms may range from unexplained bruising, bleeding from the nose or gums, blood in the urine or stools, coughing up or vomiting blood, to bleeding in the brain. Even without symptoms, the blood’s ability to clot is severely impaired and risk of bleeding is high,” Dr. Jenny Lu, a toxicologist and emergency medicine physician at Stroger Hospital, told CBS Chicago.

“As bleeding can be life-threatening,” she continued, “it is important that people who have used synthetic marijuana seek medical attention at the first sign of poisoning so we can begin treatment right away.”

Synthetic cannabis — often called Spice, K2, or fake weed — consists of man-made mind-altering chemicals either sprayed on dried shredded plant material, or sold as a liquid to be vaporized and inhaled. Foil packets of the drug are often sold over the counter at convenience stores, sometimes deceptively labeled as “herbal incense” or “potpourri.”

Most of the cases in the outbreak involved synthetic marijuana purchased from Chicago-area convenience stores, dealers, or friends, but officials warn the contaminated products could be in counties across the state or beyond.

I anticipate the following objections to my stance here:

  1. The problem was that people weren’t told what the synthetic weed was laced with, not the mere fact that they were using.
  2. If not for the stigma of illegality, the distribution of this product would be better regulated and safer.
  3. Dan! Jesus wouldn’t like you judging stoners!

Here are my responses:

  1. The problem is that when you insist on using mind-altering chemicals to achieve your desired recreational indulgences, you’re going to inevitably deal with people who are not honest, not competent or just not worthy of your association. Altering your brain chemistry in order to experience some sort of high is fundamentally unsafe. Ride a bike. Fly a kite. Go dancing. You will not end up dead or in the hospital bleeding. Ingest some sort of chemical to get you high? You should have known this could happen.
  2. Aren’t you the same people who tell me that prescription drugs and alcohol are just as dangerous? (And yes, they are.) They’re legal and their distribution is highly regulated. So tell me another one.
  3. Which is why I’m not judging them. Pointing out the obvious fact that stupid behavior is stupid is not the same thing as judging. I am also a sinner and in need of God’s grace, and I’m grateful to have it.  That does not require me to pretend I don’t notice when a societal behavior pattern is clearly stupid and self-destructive.

Look, if you’re familiar with my work at all, you know I’m a longtime anti-drug crusader and I always will be. Many of you think this is an antiquated point of view and it’s time to give up the war on drugs, because people will always seek some sort of high and there’s no changing human nature.

I will never agree with that. The Holy Spirit is God’s provision for us to experience heightened sensations, it involves no altering of your physiology – only an awakening of spiritual impulses God has already put in you. If you want a real high, look to Him.

If you reject what God offers and you seek to get high with chemicals of any kind (and yes, that includes alcohol), you’re liable to end up dead, hurt or irreversibly degraded.  I love you and I don’t want that for you. And I’m not going to make you feel better about it by failing to mention how stupid it is.

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Fear of the Lord: Come on, you have trouble with that one, don’t you?

Bill Wiese is the “23 Minutes In Hell” guy. (It was a vision, and I believe him. It wasn’t one of those Burpo things.)

And he’s got an interesting take here on the fear of the Lord, which as he says is something you don’t hear preached about a lot on Sundays.

Wiese does a nice job of exploring the full meaning of this phrase, and it’s a good investment of four minutes for you to listen to it. But I think he misses something, which we’ll get to below. First watch:

To be sure, if fear is reverence, respect and awe, then there’s every reason to fear God. Wiese does an excellent job of helping us develop our understanding of the concept with all this in mind.

But the for the modern-day person, this is still one of those notions that messes with the mind, for a number of reasons.

First, why does it make sense to fear God when we’re always hearing how loving, kind, merciful and generous God is? Is it like loving an abusive father or husband? Does God have a mean, sadistic side?

Second, Scripture itself warns us against fear. In 1 John 4:18 we’re told that perfect love casts out fear. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we’re told that God has not given us a spirit of fear. All throughout Scripture, fear is descried as something antithetical to the faith.

So is it any surprise we struggle with this idea?

But the problem, I think, is that we tend to hear “fear” in the context of its most common modern applications. To be afraid. To be filled with anxiety. To think someone or something is trying to hurt us.

Understood incorrectly, the warning to fear God can make us think of God as furious and vindictive, sitting up there raging at us for all the things that are wrong with us.

No wonder some people don’t spend time in prayer. They’re afraid to come into God’s presence because they think He hates them. That’s what they’ve let “fear the Lord” become for them.

None of that is correct. God does not hate you. He is not furious at you. He is not at His wit’s end with you.

But . . . what’s very real about God is His wrath, and this is also a problem for many Bible readers because we tend to think of traits God has as being similar to things we’ve seen in humans we know. If you know someone who tends to lose his temper a lot, you might think that’s what God’s wrath is like. Angry. Raging. Out of control.

God is never out of control – at least to Himself. His wrath is not like some human’s temper tantrum. God’s wrath, by contrast, is necessary for the preservation of His holiness and the ultimate destruction of sin.

What God can do to you is far more terrifying than what any human can do to you. They can kill you. He can confine you in Hell and ultimately destroy your soul. There are some people to whom He will do that, not because He wanted to or was having a fit of pique, but because the restoration of all things will have no place for sin, and those who refuse to let go of their sin will have to be thrown in the fire with it. It will be their choice.

That is God’s wrath. It is terrible and irreversible. It is forever. You don’t want it to happen to you. And when you think about it, you would be wise to fear it precisely because it is so awful.

Fearing God also means simply realizing that He is the only source for all good things, and if He ever believed it necessary, He could remove some or all of those good things from you. A healthy fear of the God who can do that is wise.

But it’s a different kind of fear than all the other forms discussed in the Bible, or in your daily life, because it’s a fear of someone who can destroy you, but wants to do exactly the opposite and has already done the work that will make that possible – if only you will fear Him enough to obey Him.

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




The claim that Pope Francis said there is no hell is completely without credibility

I am not here to defend Pope Francis generally – neither on his frequent head-scratching public statements (I’ve been a critic multiple times, including here and here) nor on the general notion of papal authority, which I have not accepted for more than 30 years.

But as far as I can see, there is no reason whatsoever to believe the pope claimed Hell doesn’t exist. The source for this claim is highly unreliable, and since the claim was made the Vatican has continually affirmed the doctrine that Hell is real.

So why do so many people believe the pope said this? Mainly because they keep hearing that he said it, and they ignore how impossible it is to assign any credence whatsoever to the one many who claims to have heard the statement.

Where did this claim come from? It came from a 93-year-old atheist named Eugene Scalfari, who says he has struck up an “intellectual friendship” with the pope, and that during a conversation between the two of them, Francis told Scalfari he doesn’t believe there is really a Hell.

Now, assuming these two really are “intellectual friends” and assuming they actually sit down and chew the fat, you should remember a few things:

  1. Scalfari is 93 years old.
  2. Scalfari makes a point of letting everyone know he doesn’t take notes, but just recounts from memory what people say to him.
  3. Scalfari is an atheist.
  4.  There are no other public statements or official communiques from the pope that are consistent with what Scalfari claims Francis told him, which means that if he really believes there is no Hell, he shared this believe one time, with one person, and no one else.

Now look, since I don’t accept the office of the papacy in the first place, it’s not a huge crisis for me that there’s a pope who is a little off on some things. It’s Scripture that I look to, not any one human leader. If you’re a practicing Catholic, I understand why you’d be troubled by a lot of what Francis says – especially when he strays from theological issues and gets outside his area of knowledge.

But even if you’re a Catholic who has huge problems with Francis, that doesn’t give you license to go around repeating an obvious slander of the man. There is no reason whatsoever to think he told Eugene Scalfari there is no Hell.

Scalfari is simply not a credible source. He can’t back up his claim. He is sloppy in his recording methods. He is a very old man and it’s hardly implausible that he misheard or misunderstood what was said to him – assuming anything was said to him at all.

And because he’s an atheist, you can’t discount that he has an incentive to sow discord among believers.

There is a tendency in our culture today to simply believe the worst things we are told about people we don’t like, because these things affirm our worst suspicions about them. If you’re a Francis critic, you believe he said this because it’s the sort of awful thing you’ve already decided he would say and probably believes. It fits your Pope Francis narrative, so it’s true as far as you’re concerned.

But every standard of evidence and credibility would suggest this is garbage. If I was interviewing Scalfari and he made this claim to me, I wouldn’t even bother reporting the statement. It’s that devoid of credibility.

There are enough legitimate issues to have with Pope Francis. Stop believing things that are transparent nonsense just because they fit narratives you want to believe.

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




The Mets promoted Tim Tebow to Double A; maybe you’d like to see his first at-bat at that level

Remember, this is a guy who was scorned by baseball writers for making a complete mockery of the game just by trying to play it. He was too old, they said, clearly not good enough, and taking up a spot that could be given to a more deserving prospect.

Hmm. Why heap such scorn on a man for trying to do something he wants to do? Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that he’s an outspoken Christian and they want him out of the limelight so they won’t have to listen to him anymore, would it?

Last year Tebow played in the Florida State League for the St. Lucie Mets, which is the advanced Class A level of the minor leagues. That’s three levels below the majors. This year, the Mets promoted him a level to Double-A, assigning him to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies of the Eastern League  – and once again, Tebow’s critics called this a farce.

About that: Tebow’s first at-bat for the Rumble Ponies came last night. We have the video:

Now granted, one home run in one at-bat doesn’t prove Tebow belongs at the Double-A level, and he still has a long climb to get to the majors, especially at the age of 30. Tebow is big and strong and any big, strong guy could sit on a fastball, get lucky and make contact on a given pitch and hit it out. It doesn’t mean he’s going to do it all the time.

But remember, this is Tebow’s first at-bat in Double-A. You might also recall that he hit a home run in his first at-bat in the FSL.

Now let’s deal with some of the common tropes you hear about Tebow and his baseball quest.

First of all, Tebow is not taking up a roster spot that would otherwise go to a more deserving prospect.  A baseball team’s minor league organization consists of six or seven farm clubs with more than 150 players on the rosters. Very few of those 150 players are highly regarded prospects expected to have a shot at reaching the majors. The rest are what’s known as “organizational depth,” which basically means you can’t field a ballclub with only five or six top prospects, so you need other players in order to play the games.  No top prospect is getting cut by the Mets so Tim Tebow can play. That’s ridiculous, and the people making that claim know it.

Second, if Tebow is doing this as some sort of publicity stunt, he should have picked a different one. Life in the minor leagues is no treat. You’re paid very little money, you travel on buses and you stay in pretty modest accommodations. Your clubhouse is many levels below what they enjoy in the majors, and you spend your time in cities like Binghamton and Port St. Lucie. With no disrespect intended to those cities, it’s usually not where publicity hounds want to be.

And if Tebow is looking for good publicity, he’s looking in the wrong place. He’s mostly getting beaten up by baseball writers for what he’s doing – yet he’s come back again for a second straight year to do it again.

I’ll say what I’ve said from the beginning: With as many factors as were working against Tebow from the outside – his age, the number of years since he had played, etc. – if he somehow makes it to the majors, that can only be a God thing.

And if God ordained it, then nothing is going to stop it from happening, and you can bet that Tebow will use his success for God’s glory – as he has pretty much everything in his life to this point.

And that’s why I’m rooting for him, in spite of the fact that his employer is the New York Mets.

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Surgeon General: Maybe the public should carry nalaxone in case someone overdoses on heroin

I think he’s mainly talking about the friends and family of opioid addicts, but then, that’s pretty much everyone, isn’t it?

Nalaxone is basically an antidote for an opioid overdose. You may have heard it referred to by one of the two primary brands of the drug – Narcan or Evzio. It’s common for police to carry it, although it’s not universal, since it requires funding. And not every police department thinks it’s their job to essentially bring addicts back from their own self-inflicted heroin overdoses, although I think most believe it’s their job to help if they can without judging how a person got in a life-threatening situation.

But Surgeon General Jerome Adams is taking things a little further in a rare surgeon general’s advisory – the first since 2005:

Surgeon General Jerome Adams is issuing a rare public health advisory on Thursday, calling for friends and family of people at risk for opioid overdoses to carry the OD-reversal medication naloxone. He likened the treatment to other livesaving interventions, such as knowing how to perform CPR or use an EpiPen.

The recommendation comes in the form of a surgeon general’s advisory, a tool used to draw attention to major public health issues. The last one, focused on drinking during pregnancy, was issued in 2005.

“What makes this one of those rare moments is we’re facing an unprecedented drug epidemic,” Adams told STAT in a phone interview Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of Americans are dying from drug overdoses each year, largely driven by opioids. While paramedics—and increasingly, police officers—carry naloxone, they often arrive too late for it to save someone’s life. In countless cases, family members and friends—often other people using drugs—have reported using naloxone to save an overdose victim, and the idea is that if more people have naloxone on hand, more people could be saved.

“It’s easy to use, it’s lifesaving, and it’s available throughout the country fairly easily,” Adams said.

I’m honestly not sure if anyone regards the surgeon general as authoritative. I wonder how many people even realize we still have a surgeon general.

But how bad has this problem gotten when Adams is recommending that civilians keep a stash on hand just in case?

It might be reasonable advice under the circumstances, but I have an issue with how we got to these circumstances. If you’re too young to remember, there used to be a thing called the War on Drugs. It was formally announced by President George H.W. Bush but before that it was a priority of First Lady Nancy Reagan. It was a combination of law enforcement, interdiction, treatment and education. But it all stemmed from a recognition that drug abuse had become a scourge that was damaging society and ruining individual lives.

Marijuana. Heroin. Cocaine. Quaaludes. LSD. Crack. The drugs had different effects and different potencies, but there was a societal consensus that drug abuse was a huge problem and that we needed a nationwide effort to combat it.

Somewhere along the line that consensus collapsed. The War on Drugs was said to have “failed” because people continued to do drugs. I would argue that it wasn’t the drug warriors who failed, but the individuals who chose to toke, snort, shoot up and otherwise partake in this stupid societal phenomenon.

Today you’re a hero if you openly tout your drug use, and nothing is considered funnier than to mock anti-drug people like me. States are moving to legalize marijuana, with a push to legalize other drugs sure to follow, all because they’ve decided they can’t win the fight.

We’ve gone from fighting drugs to throwing our hands up and trying our best to manage the problem.

And one result has been the opioid crisis. Now it’s true that much of this arises from legally prescribed opioids, but the societal phenomenon driving it is the same. Legal or illegal, people are medicating themselves as a first priority when there are all kinds of better ways they could pursue recreation, healing and pain relief. They’re chemically altering their consciousnesses and their body chemistry, usually not really knowing or understanding what they’re doing.  They laugh at health warnings. They scoff at law enforcement. They just want to get high. And we’ve stopped telling them they shouldn’t because that’s sooooo 1980s.

And addiction has gotten so bad that the surgeon general is urging members of the public to carry naloxone around just in case.

Maybe we should have kept fighting that drug war. Maybe we should start again.

By the way, I do not drink alcohol, so come up with another one.

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)