Sunday, February 15, 2009

Helpful Link to “Cursing & Praying on a Ridge” (published 2-15-2009; updated 10-29-2022)

2/15/2009 Original Article

For those interested in the inspiration for the Appalachian Irishman's next article, below, “Cursing & Praying on a Ridge,” please click the "Helpful Link" (here) and in the title, above.

This brother in Christ provides useful resources on several points of religious discussion, especially as related to the Church of Christ tradition.

10/29/2022 Update

Today, Saturday, 10/29/2022, my website analytics showed that this 2/15/2009 article had one view, in the last 24 hours. I had wondered what I had written.

I had published this note, after my first 2/15/2009 article, “Cursing & Praying on a Ridge – which is one of my eight “Articles of Note - A Select Few” that has viewers almost daily.

The “Helpful Link" was and is to “Forgiving God: A Testimony,” on John Mark Hicks, by Dr. John Mark Hicks, 12/11/2008. I suggest that you read Dr. Hicks' 12/11/2008 article. It is his eloquent and honest public statement of his emotion and spiritual struggle, regarding the untimely passing of his son.

On 2/15/2009, I had commented on brother Hicks' article as follows.

Can a man, who loves to hike – standing on a bluff, on a ridge, on a clear, crisp day, with a scenic view below, as hawks fly above – both curse freely and then pray calmly, within a span of minutes? Yes, of course.

Does God understand? Yes, of course.

Just after returning from five years of foreign mission work, my relatively young mother was stricken by a yearlong illness, or illnesses, resulting in her death. As she recovered from the first illness, the other took her, suddenly.

Since then, I have not served in a fulltime ministry, nor will I. My zeal in ministry poured out of me, from the hole created in my bowels (the old word for seat of compassion) by the experience.

Last year, I finally left the “Church of Christ,” since my mother, a faithful Christian, under the Baptist tradition, did not die and go to hell, for her “doctrinal misunderstanding.” I am still, however, part of Christ’s church, as all, such as my mother, are – who by grace through faith are saved.

I still struggle to find that zeal for ministry, which was lost. Yes, deep down, I am still angry with God, for taking my mother, when we all still needed her so badly. I understand the deep points regarding the problem of evil and how those points apply generally. Still, why my mother at that time?

I still believe, because my mother believed, and because I know Him.

Brother John Mark Hicks replied, on 2/16/2009:

Yes, God does understand. I understand that we can pray with Madeleine L’Engle: “God, I hate you. Love, Madeleine.”

Healing comes slowly for some, more quickly for others. It is a journey either way. I pray you will find some healing and perhaps – if you feel the call – a resource for ministry (whether “official” or not).

Blessings, my brother.

John Mark

Dr. John Mark Hicks' website -- John Mark Hicks: A Disciple Seeking to Follow Jesus into the World for the Sake of the World to the Glory of God -- is still active. His website includes his audio-video messages, so you can read and hear what he writes and says.

CURSING & PRAYING ON A RIDGE (published 2/15/2009)

Okay, dear reader, this one will be more personal. Get ready!
Imagine the Appalachian Irishman standing on a bluff on My Mountain. The day is clear and crisp. The photo above depicts the scene below. Hawks fly about.
Can the Appalachian Irishman, in this setting, both curse freely and then pray calmly, in a span of minutes? Yes, of course, he can. As Mark Twain said, “Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer” (A Biography). A good cussin’ purges the soul and lowers the blood pressure, at times, better than the most eloquently worded prayer.
Does God understand? Yes, of course. He is a God of grace.
Three months after returning from mission work in Russia, my mother, at the relatively young age of 67, was stricken by a yearlong suffering that involved two illnesses. As she recovered from the first, the other took her—suddenly, unexpectedly, unfairly.
Since then, I have not served in fulltime ministry. My zeal was poured out of me, by the hole cut into my bowels, the seat of emotion. Over eight years have passed, and I still struggle.
Do not bother with the religious platitudes. I have studied, written, and spoken on the problem of evil. Remember, I dealt with atheists in Russia! Deep inside, I am still angry with God, despite my theological understanding; although, the anger has cooled over the years. Why must she die at that time, in that terrible way, when we needed her so badly?
Complicating the issue is the haughty stance of the Church of Christ, of which I was a part for so many years. You see, the arrogant Church of Christ member would consign my mother to hell, because her views, as a Baptist, on such doctrinal points as baptism, worship, church organization, ad nauseam, conflict with his interpretation of scripture.
For over seven years after Mom’s passing, I continued to attend local Churches of Christ, but I was uncomfortable. Their beliefs, by implication, sent my mother to hell. I also struggled through the faith challenge that followed her passing. I was the outsider, as I sat within their walls each Sunday. Not wishing to “rock the boat,” I kept quiet. To attend is better than not, I reasoned.
Well, last year, I finally left the Church of Christ, while remaining a part of Christ’s church. My mother, whose sincere faith inspired me, was a faithful Christian, under the Baptist tradition. She did not die and go to hell, for any doctrinal misunderstanding. She, in her genuine faith, was saved by God’s grace. Perhaps her doctrinal understanding was not perfect, but whose is? Her faith, her love for our Father, her lifelong example of Christ living in her, as a reflection of his grace, was undeniable. As such, she was a Christian, saved by God’s grace through her genuine, if imperfect, faith. No superficial Church of Christ interpretation of grace will deny that reality.
I still believe, because my mother believed, and because I know Him. As the father of the stricken child, in Mark 9:24, cried, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
The Appalachian Irishman hasn’t had time, with a burdensome schedule, to climb House Mountain, to curse and pray. Perhaps, this is his way of doing so, off the mountain.
Thanks for listening.

Mr. Chan Or Mr. Garuba? (published 2-15-2009)

Has Patrick Chan, the figure skater, fallen on hard times? Is he in cahoots with Mr. Garuba? You be the judge!

Here is the e-mail that the Appalachian Irishman received today. Note: I did not clean up the multiple grammatical errors!


Dear Friend,

Let me start by introducing myself.I am Mr.Patrick Chan Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of the operations of the Hang Seng Bank Ltd.I have a secured business suggestion for you.

Before the U.S and Iraqi war our client Col.Hosam Hassan who was with the Iraqi forces and also business man made a numbered fixed deposit for 18 calendar months, with a value of Thirty Million United State Dollars ($30,000,000.00) only in my branch. Upon maturity several notice was sent to him,even during the war early this year. Again after the war another notification was sent and still no response came from him. We later found out that Col.Hosam Hassan and his family had been killed during the war in bomb blast that hit their home.

After further investigation it was also discovered that Col.Hosam Hassan did not declare any next of kin in his official papers including the paper work of his bank deposit.And he also confided in me the last time he was at my office that no one except me knew of his deposit in my bank.So,Thirty million United State Dollars ($30,000,000.00) is still lying in my bank and no one will ever come forward to claim it.What bothers me most is that according to the laws of my country at the expiration 7 years the funds will revert to the ownership of the Hong Kong Government if nobody applies to claim the funds.

Against this backdrop,my suggestion to you is that i will like you as a foreigner to stand as the next of kin to Col.Hosam Hassan so that you will be able to receive his funds.


I want you to know that i have had everything planned out so that we shall come out successful.I have contacted an attorney that will prepare the necessary document that will back you up as the next of kin to Col.Hosam Hassan,all that is required from you at this stage is for you to provide me with your Full Names and Address so that the attorney can commence his job. After you have been made the next of kin, the attorney will also file in for claims on your behalf and secure the necessary approval and letter of probate in your favor for the move of the funds to an account that will be provided by you.

There is no risk involved at all in the matter as we are going to adopt a legalized method and the attorney will prepare all the necessarydocuments.

Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue.

Once the funds have been transferred to your nominated bank account we shall share in the ratio of 60% for me, 40% for you Should you be interested please send me the following informations below,

1. Full names
2. Private phone number
3. Current residential address.

I will prefer you reach me on my private email address below And finally after that i shall provide you with more details of this transaction.Your earliest response to this letter will be highly appreciated.


Kind Regards,

Mr.Patrick Chan.

Suggestion: don't send this "Mr. Chan" your contact information!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Fencing (published 2-3-2009)

A fencing team in school? Wow! What progress! I wasn't offered a class in fencing in high school. A good friend and former coworker informs me that his daughter is on a school fencing team. They are going out of town to pick up supplies.

Ah, the Appalachian Irishman remembers running a fence line back in high school, without any school training. The cows had knocked down a large section of fence, and the rest of the line needed to be restrung anyway. So, my buddy, Bill, and I helped Randy and his Dad run a new row of barbed wire.

Mind you, this was not in a flat pasture. It was on a steep hill in the woods. (Yes, cattle can get into the woods.) As we ran the wire, Bill had the spool above me on the hill, and he was running it down to me, where I was setting postholes. Well, sir, that spool got away from Bill. I looked up and saw barbed wire spinning off the spool, as it headed straight for me! Having a bit of mountain goat in me, I jumped out of the way, before the wire could shred me. What fun!

I'm glad that my friend's daughter is learning how to fence in school. But, why can't they go to the local Coop, to buy the supplies? You know, wire, nails, hammer, posthole digger, etc.

Oh, it's another type of fencing? Never mind. What is this country coming to? Remember, don't bring a knife, or sword, to a gunfight!

What say you?

Monday, February 02, 2009

All Redefined (published 2-2-2009)

Well, the neglected old friend, whom you don't see as often as you should, but who will be there for you any time, needs some attention. The Appalachian Irishman, as a good friend, just sits out there on the Internet, awaiting my notice. Well, here is a short entry.

For the thousands out there, who await longingly my every article, check out the link, in the title, above. The author of All Redefined is a friend and former coworker, who, with two others and me, braved the treacherous climb up House Mountain, just over a year ago. She is standing in the middle. We enjoyed a great hike. The date was 12/1/2007. Where was I? I took the photograph!

Check it out! All Redefined is a good website!