Be not Offended

It is time Americans thicken their skins. One can not open a newspaper or look at the news on-line without seeing at least one article about someone being offended. Has our skin become so thin that we can be offended by almost anything?

Perhaps there are things we do not agree with, but do they necessarily offend us? There have always been disparaging comments and actions ranging from men drinking in front of members of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union members to various ethnic and racial groups being called by names they consider derogatory.

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WTCU) was formed in the 1870’s with the goal of eliminating drunkenness and other forms of alcohol abuse. They worked hard both at the individual level and the governmental level to fight “the demon alcohol”. Their intentions were pure as they picketed bars and tried to shame men into stopping drinking. At the governmental level they lobbied to have cities and counties declared “dry” by law and advocated the 18th Amendment. While they did not have the success they desired, they did have a major impact on public drunkenness and domestic problems related to alcohol consumption.

Of course those men who liked to drink, were not polite to WTCU members. They tried to disrupt the WTCU lectures on the evils of alcohol and often make a public display of drinking in front of speakers and in front of ladies who picketed the men’s favorite bars. Some men used their physical strength to carry “the little ladies” away from the demonstration. I am sure the women were spitting mad, but they did not publicize how offended they were. What letters they wrote to legislators and newspapers focused on the facts as they saw them.

Every ethnic or racial group has been labeled with one or more derogatory names. There are even derogatory terms for Whites that I have heard applied to me. Everyone has been called an insulting name at one time or another. At times fights have erupted over some of these labels, but only recently have people made a big fuss about being offended. Yes, some have gotten into fights over these names, but the majority of people simply held their peace, until recently.

Discussed above are two situations in which the participants would have been justified to be offended, but few voiced their hurt feelings publicly. Now it had become fashionable to be offended. People are being offended by the silliest things. A recent article told about fans being offended by the Christmas greeting card that Kim Kardashian posted on social media. No, the fans were not offended by the mention of the Christian holiday, they were offended because there was no mention of Kim’s husband.

For generations, Americans have decorated their homes at Christmas. In some families, the historic reference to Jesus has been lost and the decorations are totally secular, but the practice of decorating the outsides of house continues to increase. One family in Pennsylvania were inspired to include a big sign about Jesus in the middle of their display. The homeowner’s association is demanding that the reference to Jesus be removed because a neighbor was offended. I presume they were concerned others would likewise be offended.

If Jesus is the reason for the season, those people who are not religious should tolerate us “Jesus freaks” when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. If anything, they can laugh at Christians for the delusions Christians have, but how can non-Christians be offended? The world has never been unified in a single belief. In the past, there have been religious wars, but except for them, differences in religious beliefs have in many situations been tolerated. Why start now to be offended? I used to travel on business to Muslim countries. When I was in a Muslim country during Ramada, people would wish me a happy Ramada. Should I have been offended and thrown a fit? My practice was to thank the well-wisher and then ignore the holiday as best I could.

I can not document this, but a visitor to one of our local high schools happened to be in the building when morning announcements were being read over the PA system. It is tradition in that school for the student who is reading the announcements to end with, “God bless you and have a good day.” The visitor stormed into the office and demanded to know how many people were in the building. She was told 1200. She then said, “Well, you have just offended 1200 people.” Personally, I do not think her indignation was justified, but I can understand why she thought she was offended. I do not understand how she figured everyone in the building was offended? A large part of our population appreciates being given God’s blessing. How silly a statement. Perhaps she thought her hyperbole made her point, but it only showed how short-sighted her opinions are.

Jeff Jacoby, a writer for the Boston Globe recently published an editorial expressing thoughts similar to mine. He makes reference to a Jewish prayer in which the prayer is supposed to be asking God help him to forgive anyone who has offended him that no person shall receive punishment for having offended the person praying. He then extend the argument to say that he tries to make a practice of not taking offense when offense is not intended. What an excellent way for a person to toughen up their skin.

Personally, I would take this one step further and not take offense at all. Jesus told us to forgive our enemies. It appears that most of the people today are offended by what is said or done by their enemy.

Indeed our country had great diversity, and the only thing that has held us together has been the fact that we, as a nation, are more tolerant than many other nations. We are not perfect in this, but we are more tolerant than most countries. In fact, the very people who cry the loudest about being offended tend to be the people expecting tolerance in other areas.

We need to toughen up and allow our skins to grow thicker and stronger so that we can tolerate it when someone insults us. If we do this, we will be better prepared to live in harmony with our neighbors and our enemies.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, or if you insist, Happy Holidays. I know it is politically correct to wish people Happy Holidays, but it is my belief that you will get more joy out of celebrating Christmas than other holidays of the season.

Yes there were plenty of pagan holidays at this time of year, and people have made good arguments that Christmas was set on the calendar to replace one of the pagan holidays. We also have some secular celebrations that compete with Christmas, but a sincere celebration of Christmas has the potential of more joy than any other celebration.

You ask, “How can there be joy in a holiday season when we are running around buying presents and attending social functions, school programs and endless parties?” If such activities are stressing you out, perhaps you need to evaluate your priorities. What is important at Christmas?

The reason for having Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is not important that we may be celebrating on the wrong date. What is important is that we are celebrating that God came to Earth to live with us. One of the names of Jesus is Emmanuel, or God With US. God himself came to Earth to live with us as a man. God is no longer distant and unapproachable. He lived with men in the first century, and he lives today with us as a spirit. As a Christian, I am called to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

If you go to church during the Christmas season you will be told the story of his humble birth. You will learn that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords was born in a barn full of animals. I hope you will be inspired to go to church and learn how much God loves you. You will learn that Jesus loves you so much he died for you and that he wants you to believe in him so you can spend eternity with him in heaven.

Of course Santa Claus, Rudolph the Reindeer, and many other secular symbols are trying to compete with Jesus at Christmas. They may bring some fun to the season, but please remember to put Jesus first.

There is nothing wrong with having some fun, but be responsible. Don’t get drunk. Try to spend some time with your family. Don’t spend a lot of money on extravagant gifts to impress people, but rather give simple, gifts to show your love. Focus your celebration on the fact that we have received the best give of all from God. We have been given Jesus. also known as Emanuel, God With Us.

If you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will have the rest of you life making this relationship deeper and more personal. I will testify that Jesus is the best friend you can hope for. Then after death, you will live with him for all eternity, sharing his glory.

Merry Christmas.

Reynold is an author of Christian fiction. Visit his webpage at (One of the pages features pictures and articles about bees.)

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Launch Jitters

It may take an author several months or several years to write a manuscript of  book. I typically require 8 to 14 months to finish the manuscript for book. I may revise the manuscript up to 5 times to come up with the final form of the story. Each revision takes more months. Finally the day comes when every author must decide the manuscript is in its final form for better or worse. Otherwise, most authors would never publish anything because there is always the temptation to make yet another change or to put the manuscript back in the form before the last change was made.

It is now time to turn the manuscript over to my proofreader and editor while I search for a market. Again this takes more time, but whether I self publish or find a publisher, more time is consumed in the process of editing, book design, cover design and eventually arrangements for printing. Each stage requires inspection of the work and approvals. Typically a book is released about a year after a publisher accepts my manuscript.

Wait, wait ,wait. The day finally comes when the proof copy arrives in the mail. My proofreader and I scour the book for fatal errors. No, we do not look for typos, but it is important that the book not have a chapter missing, a page inverted or chapters mis-numbered.

I have given my final approval and wait for production and distribution of the book, Stoned for His Faith. Typically this calls for celebrations. The launch is imminent. If I lived in a large city, I might schedule a launch party for my friends and some potential readers, but in the small, rural city where I live the crowd would probably be little more than a few friends and the librarian. On my last book, I tried to hold a virtual launch party, but there were technical problems that messed things up. I have not made up my mind if I will try another virtual launch party. When launch day comes, I think I will celebrate by donating a signed copy of my book to the local library.

In the meantime I have been busy setting up advertising. I posted this new book in the store of my website, for pre-release orders. Until release date, I will sell the book at a discount. I have in my possession a small box of pre-release copies and another small box is on the way. Perhaps another way to celebrate the launch would be to begin filling the pre-release orders.

Each book sold from my website will be signed. All books to US addresses will be shipped for free.

I ask my readers to at least look at my website. I hope it will inspire you to make a purchase either of Stoned for His Faith or one of my earlier books.

Drop me a line if you think I should hold a virtual launch party. The launch is supposed to be sometime in December. There is a contact page on the website.

While this book is a thriller with action, danger, and courage, the book also demonstrates faith and forgiveness. Of course, I also added several romantic subplots just because they add a little spice to the story.

Just as added incentive, I have included a bee page in my website. This is a page with pictures of my bees and a few paragraphs about bees. In fact I have interviewed some of my bees about what their favorite flower is. Visit my bee page for some fun.

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New Thriller about to be Relased.

I recently received a proof copy of Stoned for His Faith. My proofreader and I both carefully checked it out. Covenant Books did a great job assembling, designing the book and cover, and printing it as a paperback. I am excited how well it turned out. My proofreader likes it as well (She may be influenced that I named a character after her and that character gets married to a very charming minor character.).

I gave Covenant Books the approval to start production. I expect release before the end of the year. It will be available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Spring Arbor. It will be distributed through Ingram to brick and mortar book stores as well.

Because I am the author, it is already for sale on the book store attached to my website, If you go to my website, you can place a pre-release order in my book store at a discount. I will ship your book as soon as I am sent a stock of books. As always, I will sign your book. Books are sent free to USA addresses. Inquire about postage to other countries.

The book will also come out as an e-book. I do not have details yet, but it should be offered by Amazon, I-tunes and Barnes and Noble.

This book is a thriller about a pastor who writes a book teaching Christian how to witness to Muslims. The book is effective and popular. Of course, a US mullah takes offence. He orders his men to locate and kill the pastor. They chase the pastor down with the intent of stoning him, but the community coward arrives on the scene. . .

For more about Stoned for His Faith of about any of my books, go to

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New Book Coming

Stoned for His Faith, a Christian thriller is rushing toward its release date.

The other day, I received a package of books. They are test copies of Stoned for His Faith. My proofreader and I will examine the book for problems such as missing chapters, pages up side down or inconsistencies in format. Once I give my approval, the final step of the production process will start.

Of course we do not expect any problem, The manuscript was well proofread and edited at every step of the process. Nevertheless, it is better for us to catch any mistake than for a defective book to be shipped to you.

Information about the book is on my revised website, The book should show on the book-store page of the website for pre-release orders. By the way, pre-release orders are at a discount.

As usual, I will sign all of my books and ship them to you free to addresses in the USA. Please inquire the cost of shipping books outside of the country.

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Is Mother Nature Angry?

Right after Hurricane Irma hit Florida, a starlet who is called Jo-Law (I think her last name is Lawrence) broadcast the message, “Harvey and Irma are Mother Nature expressing her rage over Trump’s election.” Let us ignore the political implications. After all, each of us has an opinion. My question is how can Mother Nature be responsible for any gift or tragedy?

Mother Nature is a metaphor for the effects of natural activities. Some people think it is more poetic to say that Mother Nature gave us a good crop rather than  attributing the good crop to good rainfall, soil nutrients, and/or a long growing season. In doing so, they are not suggesting that there is a deity or a superhero who is making and acting upon rational decisions. By using Mother Nature, the writer is only saying we are blessed or cursed by factors found in nature that he or she can not easily express.

At first, I wondered why Ms. Jo-Law simply did not say that God was giving the bad weather to punish us for our political actions. That would make more sense than what she tweeted because God is a deity with the power to change weather patterns if he chooses. Then I saw a review about her soon to be released movie. According to the reviewer, the movie is anti-Christian. Apparently Ms. Jo-Law does not believe in God.

So if she does not believe in God, who or what does she believe in? One of the weaknesses of those who criticize religion, is that they offer no other viable alternative to an omnipotent and omniscient God. Certainly a metaphor like Mother Nature, Father Time, or Lady Luck lacks the wisdom to know how to run the world and certainly lacks the power to control it.

Yes, I know we are supposed to believe that the universe evolved by random chance. Survival of the fittest may explain changes within species, but it is a violation of the laws of thermodynamics for random actions to actually build something. When you play cards, why do you shuffle the deck? To mix them up, of course, and the more you shuffle the more the order of the cards is randomized. You can not shuffle a deck of cards long enough to put the cards in order by suit. Likewise, random action may cause changes, but changes based on random action can not create a new atom let alone a new universe. In order to create order out of disorder, someone must do some work.

I may be mistaken about the identity of the God I worship, but I am convinced that there is a deity that has the ability to build a universe and change weather patterns. This deity may be trying to help us or punish us. In either case it must be a deity with the omnipotence and omniscience one usually ascribes to God.

Let us recognize that metaphors are great for literature. Metaphors may be an easy way to identify something that is very complex or little understood. Metaphors are not a substitute for God.

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Once upon a time people had to be prepared to fix almost anything that broke down. This was especially true to those on the frontier because there were few local servicemen. Even in the more populated areas, it was expected that you would have to fix most of your possessions when they broke. This was largely because of economic factors and because of the simplicity of construction of common items.

Of course some skills were so difficult and rare that most communities attracted a black smith, a wheel right, and others with specialized skills. Some rural communities thrived while others declined because of the skills or lack of skills of the local artisans, but the bulk of repairs were done by the owners themselves. Fathers became known as Dad the fix-it man because little children believed that Dad could fix anything.

As equipment and possessions became more complicated, more specialists were required. Appliance repairmen had to be called when the washing machine broke down. Almost anyone could fix a wagon or repair a harness, but those temperamental horseless carriages often required an auto mechanic to keep them running.

My father was part of the last generation of fathers who could repair almost anything. He kept a barrel of scrap metal and a pile of scrap lumber from which he often fabricated simple replacement parts.

When I became a husband and father in the mid ’60’s, I used the skills my father had taught me to fix toys, appliances, furniture and the family car, but as the ’70’s came upon us, the fix-it fathers found it more and more difficult to make repairs. Many new items were spot welded or glued together rather than being assembled with nuts and bolts. The newer appliances and machines were built to more complicated plans. Rather than repairing items, more and more society has found itself replacing things.

I was reminded of this the other day when a fan stopped working. My brother and I used that fan to cool our room in the ’50’s. When my mother died, we found the fan in her house and added it to our pile of treasures. Over the past twenty years, that fan found occasional use, but this summer, my wife started using it to ventilate our greenhouse. The two speed switch malfunctioned so that it only ran at one speed. Then the switch failed entirely so the fan would not run at all.

I purchased a new switch and set about repairing the fan. Because the fan had been built in the early ’50’s I had no problem disassembling it. All fasteners were nuts and bolts or screws. The switch was replaced and the fan reassembled in jig time. We had a fan again.

As I disassembled the fan, I noticed four extra screws on the plastic case of the fan, and the plastic, though unbroken, was slightly deformed. Once the fan was disassembled, I discovered a plate of thin metal inside the case. Obviously the case of the fan had been broken once upon a time. One of us had probably dropped it and then taken it to Dad to fix.

The plate and screws had held the edges of the crack together. Very obviously, Dad had used acetone to dissolve the plastic and make it to flow, sealing the crack. My father’s skill showed in that the repaired crack was not noticeable until I looked closely.

Could you have fixed the cracked case of a modern fan? Perhaps if you could at least take it apart, or if you had a solvent that would soften the modern plastic used. The cellulose acetate plastics of the ’40’s and 50’s were soluble in acetone. Many modern plastics are not.

While the men got all the good press about fixing things, the women could also do their part. Often, broken toys got fixed before my father got home from work because Mom fixed them.

My father was drafted near the end of 1943. He went through basic training in Illinois and then was shipped to Texas for advanced training. In the spring of 1944, he was given permission to live off base. My mother packed her one year old son into a used car that my father had been maintaining. Keep in mind that cars built in the ’30’s needed frequent maintenance. As she drove south from Chicago, my father got some leave and hitch hiked north. They met in Oklahoma so my father could drive us the rest of the way to his base. In the course of things, my father inspected the car. He found it well maintained and in good condition considering the 1000 mile trip except that there was a hair pin where a cotter pin should be.

“Hey, Babe, how did a hair pin get under the car?”

My mother calmly answered, “I put it there. The car needed fixing on the trip, and I had no cotter pin. I didn’t have one, so I pulled a pin out of my hair and used it to fix the car.”

(note: During WWII, women wore “bobbie pins” in their hair to keep stray locks under control. Though the bobbie pin is a lighter construction that a cotter pin, they are both about the same size and shape.)

It is sad that we no longer are able to fix our own broken possessions. In part, that is the result of the way things are made these days. I certainly hope us old timers and the generations who follow us have not lost the desire to make repairs. I would hope we at least look the broken item over. Some things still can be fixed with a screw driver and plyers, but you have to try.

The End

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