Saturday, September 5, 2015

Boycotting the Bullies

Boycotting the products of a commercial bully that bullies its employees is a time honored way of bringing pressure when power is unavailable to victims.  Consumers boycotted grocery stores refusing to recognize the United Farm Workers in the sixties.  Divestment of invested funds is another way; many US concerns divested from South Africa over Apartheid.  Sanctions are government actions, like the sanctions against Iran.  Sanctions did not work against Britain in the 18th Century but they did pave the way for the American Revolution.  Regardless of form, the idea is these pressures are applied to bullies as a means to get them to stop bullying.

            What does it mean when the bullies are doing the boycotting?

            Since 2005 the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement – according to the American Center for Law and Justice – has been a “coordinated form of invidious discrimination (based on race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion)…aimed at delegitimizing and vilifying Israel across the globe.”  This movement claims to speak for marginalized people in the so-called “occupied territories” of Palestine.  In reality any movement that operates globally can hardly be considered oppressed; this one is heavily funded and supported by the nations dedicated since 1947 to eradicating Israel.  The ACLJ documents multiple University of California campuses in which student government has voted to divest from Israeli interests while students celebrate with shouts of “Allahu Akbar,” shouting down and harassing Jewish students.  When the so-called victims are suppressing the free speech of the so-called bullies it looks a lot like men calling evil good and good evil.

            When are victims not really victims?  When they are the ones doing the bullying. 

The Divestment movement represents people who fire rockets into Israeli civilian areas on a regular basis while kidnapping and murdering Israeli children.  The Israelis warn civilians to leave the intended target areas.  They provide much of the water and all the electricity to their enemies, as well as materials for building homes that Hamas uses to build attack tunnels. 

The people calling for boycott, divestment, and sanctions are clearly the bullies.  This is especially true when that organization represents hundreds of millions of oil rich militants dedicated to the destruction of less than ten million people trying to survive their first century in millennia as an independent nation.

These bullies cobbled together an 8-2 vote in the UN Security Council to recognize Palestine as a state even though it fails internationally accepted criteria for nationhood.  Only Australia and the US voted no, with enough cowardly nations such as Britain abstaining to deny them a majority.  They have gotten the Roman Catholic Church to recognize their claims despite their history of murder and turning the Temple site in Jerusalem into a slum when it was under their control prior to 1967.  They have the US State Department condemning Israel for building settlements on its own land and the UN subsidizing their operations.  Make no mistake; they are the bullies. 

But the bullies themselves – and their student sympathizers – are not the real problem here.  The real villains in this twisted excuse for reality are lukewarm Christians, in America and elsewhere, those Jesus says He will spew from His mouth at the same time He gives His life on the Cross for the ones who openly hate Him and His people.

            The lukewarm are the pastors who refuse to address volatile issues for fear of losing members.  They are the lay people who send e-mails to their friends who stand up for Israel telling them there is nothing to be done for Israel – so far away – exhorting them to focus instead on helping single moms and teenagers with questions about God.  Truth is our Lord Yeshua Hamashiach – Jesus Messiah – exhorts us to care for the helpless without neglecting the weightier matters, beginning with His firstborn.  We cannot provide lasting benefit for anyone without sharing God’s great love for His first-loved.

            The lukewarm are Christians who buy into replacement theology – the notion that God abandons the Jews.  A review of Romans 9-11 will quickly put the kibosh to this perverted doctrine.  A fresh look at Zechariah 10-14 will remind readers of how the Lord’s worldwide blessing is filtered through Israel.  And a prayerful look at Zechariah 8:23 – ten men grabbing hold of one Jew to be escorted into the Presence – reveals seeking a privilege rather than making a pronouncement.  This is good news because the lukewarm need not remain in that condition.  Repentance is a clear and present opportunity and only good will come of it.

            In the meantime, if we are going to boycott, let’s target the real bullies.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships and The Holy Spirit and the End Times – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at

Saturday, May 9, 2015


By James Wilson

            As a college student in my pre-Christian days I was mega moved by the film, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.  A breakout role for British actor Tom Courtenay, the story depicts young juvenile delinquent Colin Smith sentenced to a reform school run by a tyrannical thug of a governor whose passion is marathon running.  After several attempts to break Smith the governor discovers his talent for distance running and offers enticements if Smith will run for the school.  It is all about the governor’s vanity and nothing to do with the welfare of any of his charges.  When Smith realizes how thoroughly he has sold out for a few privileges he stops in the grand race just before crossing the finish line.  In this climactic moment he refuses victory to assert his independence and to spite the authority figure who has used him.  His gesture is all about the power to say NO when all other options are cut off.  He considers his NO a victory though he returns to the bottom in the reformatory culture with an extended sentence.

            2014’s When The Game Stands Tall – available on DVD and Blu-ray – has a similar climactic moment whose meaning makes all the difference in the world.  A primary subplot involves a fictional running back – Chris Ryan – whose father is abusively obsessive about the son breaking the all time scoring record for California high school footballers.  Ryan ties the record in the last game and is poised to carry the ball into the endzone in a walk near the end of the game.  He too stops – and runs out the clock – after making sure his team wins the game.  But his act is not defiance; it is submission.  He says in the huddle – before taking a knee on the next two plays – that he is a member of a team and not interested in it being all about him.  He has all the glory he needs already; he gives his tribute to the team and the coach who brought him all the way to where he is.

            Chris Ryan is the only fictional character in the film.  His story is truer than the facts – because fiction at its best tells the truth more clearly and more fully than mere facts.  Every other character and incident is true and correct.  The Ryan subplot simply draws the whole truth from the history in more living color.

            This is no one-dimensional march to athletic glory as a reward for clean living and dedication.  The story actually begins after the one hundred fifty-one game winning streak ends and a new team must discover how to live post-streak.  Meanwhile, every character is flawed or struggling or both – like real life.  TK spends his young life trying to climb out of the ghetto and wins a scholarship to the University of Oregon together with his lifelong friend, Tayshon.  The latter continues to party with gangster wannabes in the ghetto and goes into a tailspin when TK – the innocent and responsible one – is randomly gunned down by a gang member while picking Tayshon up from a place where he should not be.  Their coach delivers the eulogy and confesses that – while he will continue to love and serve his Lord Jesus – he has no answers and nothing but despair over the senseless killing.  The coach himself has hidden flaws that bite him, his family, and his team.

            He secretly smokes.  Hardly a ticket to hell, but Coach is so image conscious he is living a lie – and that is a character issue.  His smoking leads to a near fatal heart attack, being unavailable to his team for several critical months, and the exposure of his hypocrisy.  He is already less than available to his family, and the confluence of consequences leads him to authentic repentance across the board.

            He will become a better husband and father, a better coach, and a better man.  He does this not because he is so good but because he chooses – repeatedly – to live a life referred to God and to the ones he is called to serve.  His choice is all the more important when it is clear and consequential that some past choices have been poor ones.

            This movie is well written, directed with vision, and tightly edited. The performances are crisp and natural.  That makes it an excellent piece of work and one all of us can enjoy.  But it also presents a powerful depiction of a prophetic community, a 1 Corinthians 12 culture, in which every one has a pivotal role and no one is expendable.  See it.   

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships and The Holy Spirit and the End Times – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at

Sunday, May 3, 2015


By James Wilson

            The more things change the more they remain the same, or so it is said.  

Executive and judicial branches of government are not the only ones capable of lawlessness under color of authority.  The Jim Crow laws prevailing in many states until the 1960s were all duly adopted by state and local legislative bodies.  The Supreme Court ultimately overturned them, but we need to remember it was the Supreme Court that handed down the infamous Dred Scott decision – extending slaveholding authority even to free states – and that failed to overturn Obamacare even after a majority agreed it was unconstitutional.  (The Court literally re-wrote the law in order to uphold it.)  The equally infamous Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 fatally compromised both the First Amendment and the political process as laid down in the Constitution and no court intervened.  The people intervened with the election of a new government after massive protests and that is the point: A government of the people, by the people, and for the people, must be restrained by those very people; waiting passively on government to restrain itself is waiting for a train that does not come.

            It is no different in any culture populated by people of God, by the way.  If the prophetic tradition in Old and New Testaments sheds any light it is that the people of God are rightly expected to hear Him for themselves and speak His Word for themselves.  The prophets were first and foremost people outside the established-by-God government who confronted that government when it forgot its servant status.

            Yet in California alone at this time we find measures like SB 775 winging their way through the legislative process.  Should 775 become law – and the odds favor it in this legislative climate – it will trample the free speech and association rights of every pregnancy care center in California by seeking to force them to make referrals for abortion services.  These issues have been settled law for decades with the US Supreme Court weighing in multiple times over the past five years.  Where are the massive demonstrations and civil disobedience that won basic civil rights over decades for black people and other minorities?  Is the freedom to practice our faith and preserve life without harming others less fundamental than the right to vote and support our families with decent housing and jobs?  Or does the one depend upon and backstop the other?

            California’s Department of Managed Healthcare has already pre-empted the Legislature and the US Supreme Court – which has ruled repeatedly against such administrative assaults on freedom – by requiring all California businesses and ministries to provide abortion and contraceptive services to employees whatever their religious convictions.  Asm Jim Gallagher has introduced a bill – AS 1254 – to overturn these regulations but it is unlikely to pass in this legislature.  Where are the crowds of Christians picketing the CDMH offices daily and blocking access to entrances with our bodies?  How did Dr. King get to Montgomery from Selma, much less to Washington?

            SB 128 is also fast-tracking through the legislative process.  This one enshrines in law the “right” to die as its foremost supporter, a group called Compassion and Choices, re-brands it.  This group is simply the re-named Hemlock Society and their cause is simply the “right” to commit murder armed with a piece of paper saying the victim wants to die.  The LA Times cites the hypocrisy of the group when they say they only wish to give a dignified way out to people suffering intractable pain.  Their editorial is written by a palliative care doc who has not needed to hasten death due to untreatable pain in thirty-five years of practice.  The San Diego Union Tribune notices the connection between assisted suicide and the profit-driven managed care industry.  I notice the reality that the poster child for 128 – the late Brittany Maynard – took her own life to avoid a disease only weeks before the announcement it is being successfully treated; she had yet months to live in untreated comfort at her death.  But my question is this: Where is the uprising in Church and society at the government’s effort to speed death for our vulnerable loved ones?  Where is the overwhelming resistance to a state-sanctioned plan for death with no safeguards – despite what proponents prattle – against misguidance, manipulation, or even a changed mind that somehow nobody hears in time to prevent needless death?

Restoring religious freedom to campus is the aim of yet another bill – the California Freedom of Association Act authored by Asm Shannon Grove.  This one addresses the action by regents of the University of California and Trustees of the State University system banning Christian groups from campus if they do not permit non-believers to lead their ministries.  Like the Gallagher bill it is unlikely to pass in this climate.  Where are the campus demonstrations by hordes of students – believers or no – who recognize seizing freedom from one group threatens the freedom of all?  Where are the marchers and demonstrators who fought to successfully to end a war policy makers never intended to win, bringing freedom and reconciliation to the races by placing their bodies in the path of the oppressors?  It was the Church spearheading these efforts in the fifties and sixties and seventies.  Where is the Church this week?

  On a more mundane but just as fundamental front, California’s governor has announced he plans to place meters on water wells found on private property.  Advanced as a necessary measure to address the drought, it seems reasonable enough until we recall these wells are not property of the state, nor is the water they draw.  Taxing the water – ultimate purpose for any meter the state installs – is confiscation of private property without compensation, whatever the rainfall totals.  Adding insult to injury, the State Resource Control Board is deciding whether to impose the $10,000 per business or household fine the governor wants for anyone exceeding new regulations to cut water usage by from 4% to 36% depending on the region of the state in which one lives.  California’s own drought court has already ruled such regs – with varying percentages – unconstitutional but this agency is unfazed.  One might ask why the governor does not call on the Israelis – who licked the problem of drought in Israel decades ago – for a little creative help instead of trying to hold his own thirsty people hostage to draconian conservation measures for water we don’t have.  Better yet one might ask – as I do – where are the hordes of Californians – beginning with the Church – surrounding the governor’s mansion and offices, sitting in if necessary, demanding the governor start using his much ballyhooed visionary thinking to solve the drought instead of punishing the innocent and trashing the Constitution with one act of political violence after another.

And no – I won’t be organizing the demonstrations.  I am a writer and pastor, not an organizer.  But you can bet your sweet bippy – with apologies to Rowan and Martin – this Baby Boomer will show up for them.  Any other takers amongst the clergy?  Laity?

Some Christians may think it unseemly to do or propose what I propose but they need to read the Book of Acts.  When Peter and John are hailed before the Sanhedrin for unauthorized preaching the Name of Jesus that august body orders them to remain silent.  “But Peter and John replied, ‘Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you or God.  For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  Christians are likewise exhorted in 1 Peter 3:15 to be always ready to account for our faith and for our hope.  We are to do this without repaying evil with evil; in other words we are to resist tyranny without resorting to anarchy or even some other form of oppression.  But make no mistake – we defy our Lord if we permit injustice to be unaddressed.  Speaking out and walking out come under the Great Commission rubric of teaching one another to observe all things commanded by Our God and King.

So let the powers that be beware.  I have no clue for how many I may speak but I am going out on a limb and prophesying if SB 775 or 128 are adopted you will reap a firestorm of non-violent but authoritative opposition and resistance.  Ditto if these regulations stand.  Christians brought down the segregationist establishment in the US.  We brought down the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines and the Iron Curtain throughout Eastern Europe by putting flowers in the rifle barrels of the guards.  (You thought only American hippies did that?)  More important, we brought new freedom for ourselves and new glory to God.  Does it get any better?

The more things remain the same the more it is our privilege to walk with our God as He changes them into His likeness – beginning with us.    

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships and The Holy Spirit and the End Times – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at

Monday, April 27, 2015


By James Wilson

            I often tell the story of a vision in which Jesus sets me – and about seventy others – free from confinement in a root cellar.  Over several joy-filled hours we play with each other and with Him on a manicured lawn.  This playtime is climaxed when He teaches each of us to fly. 

            The catch comes when Jesus gathers us at the edge of the lawn and directs us to fly down to a horribly polluted city on the plane below and share His plans to liberate its citizens just as He set us free.  I balk at the assignment.  I tell Him I want to obey Him in all things but – I complain – going into that polluted city is no different from returning to confinement in the root cellar.  I beg – and then demand – He assign me some other task.  He explains that obedience means doing whatever He wants – not whatever I want.  When I return to my, “That’s no different than back to the cellar,” defense He assures me  it is actually quite different.  “Because,” He points out, “Now you can fly.”

              California has been uncommonly blessed by God.  We are home to the finest and most abundant land in the world; our agriculture is worth many multiples of the gold we ripped from the ground.  We house tremendous reserves of energy – from oil and natural gas to the intellectual and creative energies that grew the worldwide entertainment industry and Silicon Valley.  California’s civilization is rooted in faith – from that of the First Nations who worshipped the Father they knew as Yah to the missionaries of Padre Serra who introduced them to the Son.  God has birthed more faith eruptions in California than any other state.  We are the go-spot for movements from the Azusa Street outburst of the early twentieth century to the Charismatic Renewal of the sixties to the Jesus People (which spread worldwide) to the upwellings that dotted California cities of all sizes beginning in the nineties.  Of course opportunities straight from God – now we can fly – are always intended to foster obedience and accountability that leads to joy.  We Californians have all too often refused that accountability, and the fruit is evident.

            We lead the nation in the shed blood of First Nations Peoples over two centuries.  (We pretend some of this – like the 1851 Etna massacre in which three thousand Shastans were murdered at a barbecue in their honor – did not really happen.)  We lead the nation in elective suicide and abortion on demand; this too is blood on our hands.  Pornography and divorce are epi-centered in our state, not to mention human trafficking and the idolatry of our own innovation.  We currently host the worst drought in our history and our governor’s creative solution is to build more storage for the water we do not have.  Meanwhile our legislature considers bills to permit assisted suicide without meaningful safeguards against abuse and multiple efforts to curtail free speech and free exercise in mental health professionals and pregnancy care workers.  (I refer to SB 72 – now law – and SB 128 and 775.)  Government officials re-write or ignore laws limiting their power but it is We-The-People – and especially the Church – that places and perpetuates these atrocities in power, whether by voting for them or by declining to become involved in civic life.  The blood is on our hands.

            There is an alternative.

            The Lord Yahweh calls on His people – His people – to humble themselves, pray, and seek His face and – yes – turn from our wicked ways in 2 Chronicles 7:14.  What He demands is re-focus on Him and leaving behind our commitment to worshipping our own inadequacies – which is the meaning of the Hebrew we translate as “wicked ways.”  The next National Day of Repentance is Thursday, April 30, in cooperation with National Day of Prayer – May 7 – to co-sponsor a week of prayer, fasting, and simple honesty about who we are, what we have become, and how we might turn and be healed.  Australia has committed to a week of prayer for the United States; surely we can commit to a week of prayer for ourselves – especially in California.

            Information is available at  Readers thinking prayer too esoteric an address to practical problems can support the efforts to store water we do not have.  People who recognize – from faith or not – that a high pressure ridge denying rain to our state for four years is meteorologically unnatural can seek God for His answers to our perplexity.  Personally I have always found God more reliable, innovative, and compassionate than government.  With Him we can fly.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships and The Holy Spirit and the End Times – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at


By James Wilson
            The March 2015 cover of the National Geographic blares its issue theme, War on Science.  Truth to tell, there is a war against science in our culture.  The attack on authentic science is led by entities such asNational Geographic.  Principal strategies exploit people’s gullibility and general ignorance of scientific methodology and history.  Tactics include conflating multiple events and name-calling for those who do not fall in line with politically correct viewpoints, even citing truth while simultaneously ignoring it.  Joel Achenbach’s cover story is a case in point.

            Achenbach quotes Geophysicist Martha McNutt, “Science is not a body of facts.  Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not.”  Yet he says of skeptics, “Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts.”  There is no agreed upon body of facts; skeptics seek independent sources of information and interpretation because they challenge not facts but orthodoxy? 

There exists alongside the science described by McNutt a faith called Scientism.  Adherents believe a precept true not because they tested it but because they received it from professors with doctoral degrees and grant money.  Such faith flies in the face of authentic science from the get-go, yet Achenbach can only tisk-tisk at people who refuse to worship at its altar.

            His error is compounded – in monumental ignorance – when he conflates doubt about a round earth and a faked moon landing with skepticism about climate change and evolution.  Nobody with an IQ in double digits doubts the roundness of the earth; it has been observed since antiquity.  Conspiracy theories of faked moon landings persist but – again – they are ridiculous; such a conspiracy would require the unbroken silence of literally thousands of NASA employees for half a century and counting.  The jury is in.

            Evolution and climate change are horses of differing colors.  Although evolutionary theories flourished at least a century before Darwin, no scientific proof has ever been offered in the form of – say – DNA samples from various evolutionary stages of the same animal, missing links discovered, or reproducible results under laboratory conditions.  Some theorists howl that this bar is set unfairly high, but this bar has never been moved according to scientific method.  Whether evolution is true can be debated; that it has not been proven is beyond dispute.  And given the inconsistencies of evolutionary theory down the decades against the changelessness and progressive verification of God’s Word, my money remains on the Creator. 

Our science writer makes another sophomoric mistake when he pits young earth creationists who claim an earth thousands of years old against scientists noting four-plus billion years of planetary age.  He seems unaware of the growing number of scientists who accept the older age of the world while declaring its created origin at the hands of an Intentional Creator.  And then there is climate change.

            Achenbach refers several times to people who deny climate change occurs.  I have never heard of anyone who denies it.  Climate changes from one season to another and from one era to another.  The dispute is over whether causation is by human activity.  Skeptics point out two factors.  The first – Warming periods have always flanked ice ages. Greenland (for example) was much warmer a thousand years before an industrialized economy than it is today.  The second – recorded changes are simply not catastrophic.  Hysterics shriek of shrinking polar ice caps and reduction in polar bear numbers.  The northern ice cap has fully recovered from its quarter-century ago retreat; the southern cap grew rather than shrank, and polar bears are up by twenty per cent since 1990.

If the jury is in on the shape of the earth and our journeys to another body, we must say – with respect to evolution and climate – the case has yet to reach a jury. Achenbach concedes, “Scientific results are always provisional, susceptible to being overturned by some future experiment or observation.”  His own words make his arrogant condemnation of those who do not bow at the altar of scientism absurd.

            Of course this drivel is not limited to National Geographic.  The February 19 edition of Reasons to Believe addresses the newest darlings of Scientism and their assertion – trumpeted by mainstream media as though it were a Holy Grail – that the universe is itself eternal and therefore uncreated.  Physicists Ahmed Farag Ali (Benha University, Egypt) and Saurya Das (Lethbridge University, Canada) and their paper, “Cosmology from Quantum Potential,” are “supposed” to have “corrected” Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.  Their paper originally appeared the February 2015 issue of Physics Letter B.

            Of course – if this be true – it also corrects the Bible and its opening statement, “In the beginning God created…” right out of any authority.  Dr. Hugh Ross, Founder and President of the Reasons to Believe Foundation, is an internationally recognized astrophysicist who believes in Intelligent Design.  Ross offers four reasons why we need not shred our Bibles just yet.

            First the paper was published in the journal’s theory section, not in the astrophysics and cosmology section.  The theory section is intended for speculative work and the authors make no claim to have proven anything; they do not even go so far as to offer a new theory. 

Second, the authors do replace so-called classical geodesics with so-called quantum trajectories.  A geodesic is a standard way of looking at space; it is the shortest distance between two points and cosmologists always think in such terms because alternatives are by definition untestable.  According to standard classical Physics all geodesics lead at some point to what is called the Singularity – the beginning or go-spot from which the universe begins.  These authors say something like, “But if we could believe in the new way of tracing trajectories there would be no point of origin and thus no beginning of the universe.”  “If” is the operant term; the reasoning is circular to the effect that if the authors were correct they would be correct.  Whatever.

            The third reason is that Farag Ali and Das posit a tiny particle called a gravitron as able to account for the new perspective.  This is a hypothetical particle because its theorized mass is orders of magnitude tinier than what could be tested.  Science deals with observed phenomena; what cannot be observed might make dinner conversation but is mere speculation for scientific purposes – like elves and orcs.  Without a testable feature the existence of a gravitron is scientifically irrelevant.

            Finally and fourthly, Farag Ali and Das appeal to Quantum Physicist David Bohm’s quantum potential theory – the operant term being “potential” here.  Bohm was known for his intense interest in New Age Mysticism and the paranormal.  The quantum potential he cites is his term for a reality buried beneath physical reality.  Bohm simply re-defines space, time, and causality to make possible an argument for an eternal Universe – as opposed to an eternal and loving God.  Ross says, “One can always appeal to the unknowable to argue against something’s existence…However, arguments regarding the universe’s origin, God’s existence, and God’s hand in creation must be founded on what scientists (can) know, not on what we don’t (or cannot) know.”

              Authentic science provides an excellent platform for discovering what is and is not real.  No one should believe this or that solely because the Bible says it – much less because this or that scientist says it.  The Bible exhorts readers – in 1 John 4:1 – to test the spirits, to subject even Its revelation to tests of authenticity.  The book is not a science text; yet it stands up to scientific scrutiny well.  Such phenomena as cyclonic wind patterns – instead of the wall front patterns posited until the nineteenth century – were first revealed in the Old Testament and later tested and found accurate. 

Even the first verses of Genesis give a correct order of creation when we consider that an earthbound observer would see the creation unfold just as depicted.  Yes, this observer is symbolic – there were no human observers in the first days or epochs of creation – but we need to remember God’s oft stated purpose in composing His Book is to reveal Himself to His people.  As I mentioned earlier, I’ll put my money on God – and especially when scientific verity is the point of challenge.  He sticks to His story and depends on a straightforward presentation of what we are seeing while having the mental discipline to think skeptically about it.

            There is a war on science underway.  The best response is to observe, measure, test, and evaluate with the rational capacities God gave us and reliance on His Spirit to guide our faculties.  It would be awesome if the practitioners of scientism called off the war and let the best ideas win in the marketplace of authentic science.  It is best of all to reflect that God is at peace on His throne in spite of their rantings.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships and The Holy Spirit and the End Times – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at


By James Wilson
            The testimonies at the Senate Health Committee hearing on assisted suicide (SB 128) were heartfelt and heartrending.  Leading the way was the impassioned plea of Brittany Maynard’s mother, Debbie Ziegler, that there be no more cases in which a terminally ill adult of sound mind is forced to leave her family and friends to seek death with dignity in a strange place.  Of course everyone knows, “Thou shalt not kill,” but – we were told by every witness in favor of the bill becoming law – this is different; this is an emergency. 

            Brittany Maynard was twenty-nine years old when she took her own life on November 1, 2014.  Diagnosed with glioblastoma – an aggressive form of brain cancer thought incurable and known to be pain-filled and debilitating – she made a very public decision to end her life before the onset of most of its symptoms rather than deal with the pain and indignity of running its course.  She has become – in death – the public face of a burgeoning movement to hasten death in cases like Maynard’s.  The spearhead is a group called Compassion and Choices – a new name for the old Hemlock Society – whose very existence is based on one lie after another.

            Witnesses testified the bill has built-in safeguards to ensure decisions to die will be made by mentally competent patients only; that manipulations and coercion by unscrupulous loved ones and medical professionals seeking transplant materials will be deflected, copycat suicides by otherwise healthy people will not spike, and that the experience in those states and nations sporting assisted suicide has been uniformly good.  No evidence was presented to support these claims because there is no truth to any of them; the proposed law has no enforceable mechanisms and the experience in Belgium and the Netherlands has been ghoulish.  But the biggest lie is that suicide is mandated by incurable conditions like Maynard’s glioblastoma; reality is that the disease is being cured as we speak at Duke University according to CBS News’ Scott Pelley in a report released four days after the senate hearing. 

            This is truly an emergency, but it is not different.  It is not different from any of the other lies the enemy of all life is forever foisting on the people for whom the Son of God gave His life.

            Don’t get me wrong.  I was a witness myself at that senate hearing; I heard Debbie Ziegler testify and I know she spoke the truth as she understood it.  She believes she speaks for her daughter and for others like her.  She is wrong.  Dead wrong.

            Glioblastoma patients are being treated with a disabled form of the polio virus – God makes all things for an eventual good purpose – and going into remission from the disease.  But – the critics will say – what about Parkinson’s and ALS and other debilitating diseases and brain injuries and such?  The twin realities are these: there are no patients who cannot be made comfortable during their last days, as medical experts testified to an unmoved senate panel; and there is no way to prevent a person from taking his own life if he is determined to do it.  But there are waves of copycat suicides in the otherwise healthy population; there are high incidences of depression and other mental conditions in the people who consider – and may choose – a “medically desperate” end to life.  In thirty years of ministry that includes suicide intervention, I have never met anyone who regretted being given a breathing space to think things through a bit more.

            Reality is ethical norms are in place for protection against destructive behavior, not for the inhibition of freedom.  And a principle that cannot stand against an emergency is not worth much when times are good either.

            In California alone we claim “emergency exceptions” to ethical norms when we permit non-physicians to perform abortions.  (The emergency exists because so few docs are willing to perform them.)  We claim “this is different” when we authorize medical marijuana and taxes disguised as fire prevention fees.  (There is no medical reason for smoking wacky weed when the active ingredient is available in a bottle and that fee – if it is so necessary – can be enacted according to law.)  We have emergency water rationing and a proposal to raise the top of Shasta Dam – something our governor has dreamed about for years – which will not generate a drop of water in the state.  Contracting with Israeli firms to build desalination plants is an approach that could solve California’s water woes forever but it requires visionary thinking instead of pretending more storage will generate more water.  But the biggest emergency we have is voters who keep re-electing the people who do whatever they want whenever they can claim, “But this is different; this is an emergency.”  Many of these kool-aid drinkers are Christians.

            The National Day of Repentance is calling for a week of prayer and fasting beginning April 30 – the next scheduled National Day of Repentance – and going through May 7 – the National Day of Prayer.  These two ministries are partnering to call our state to repentance – re-focus on God – and seeking His face in our present emergency.  Some will think this a silly exercise and they are welcome to their view.  For those who think – at the least – nothing is lost by taking the Word of God seriously as it is spoken in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, go to for details and encouragement.  Our emergency is far broader than a mere lack of rain.  The good news is God’s solution is far deeper and more fruitful than what can be covered in a news conference.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships and The Holy Spirit and the End Times – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at


By James Wilson

            I was recently asked to post a purported prophetic word on the National Day of Repentance web site.  It said – in view of the pattern of lawlessness in government at all levels – it was time for the children of God to recognize He has blessed our faithfulness and given us favor at this time to stand against this very lawlessness.  I gave it a “thumbs down” because it was clearly not a word from the Lord our God.  How did I know?  It flunked the Sons of Issachar test.

            Issachar is one of the twelve sons of Jacob, one of the twelve Patriarchs after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of the Hebrew people of the Old Testament.  Jacob’s most famous son is of course Joseph, he who rescued Egypt and Israel from famine after being sold into slavery by his brothers.  The sons of Issachar were said to be anointed with supernatural understanding of pragmatic times and seasons, their implications and consequences, and the currents of relationships and alliances.

            The purported prophetic word flunks the Sons test because it ignores the very real bankruptcy of the Body of Christ.  Yes, there is a pronounced pattern of lawlessness at all levels of government from the President re-writing healthcare law and the First Amendment to ignoring immigration law to states taxing illegally under their laws and expelling Christian groups from university campuses for insisting leaders accept their faith.  Decorated Navy Chaplain Wes Modder has been relieved of duty and banned from his men for adhering to his faith in a counseling session despite the fact his conduct is protected in federal law and naval regulations.  The jury is in on government lawlessness.

            But the Church has no moral high ground on which to stand.  Martin Luther King’s favorite scripture – Amos 5:24 – calls for justice to flow like a mighty river and righteousness like an unending stream.  Stewarding this process is the job of the Church, not the government which derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.  Yet more than a third of evangelicals and an unknown number of Catholics and mainliners do not even vote – let alone vote intelligently.  In California, at least, large majorities of Christians elect the leaders who re-define concepts from marriage to immigration law to suit donors instead of constituents.  Non physicians perform abortions on our daughters – this would be illegal on a family pet – and now legislators prepare to endorse assisted suicide despite overwhelming evidence it is unnecessary and open to massive abuse. 

            The Church stood in the eighteenth century and a nation was founded on God’s love and liberty.  She stood in the nineteenth century and slavery was abolished.  She stood yet again in the twentieth century and ushered in authentic equality and respect between the races.  Where is the Church now that so fundamental a liberty as life is under unprecedented attack throughout the so-called civilized world?

            Where is the Church – I mean each and every believer, not some ponderous resolution adopted in be-robed convention – in addressing the stalkers and sexual abusers in our own ranks?  The percentages of leaders who engage in these behaviors or cover them up is about the same in every denomination.  The percentage of pastors and preachers who address socio-moral issues from their pulpits is correspondingly small across the board.  As a young priest I informed my bishop I planned to expel an admitted stalker from my congregation if he refused to leave his victim alone; the bishop told me I could expect no backing from him.  (I did it anyway.)  When do the rest of us accept responsibility to be voices for justice and righteousness, with the proviso that our personal repentance must come ahead of the repentance we call out of government and society?

            The next National Day of Repentance is set for April 30.  It inaugurates a week of prayer and fasting to culminate on May 7 and the National Day of Prayer.  Californians are invited to our own statewide Day of Repentance on September 9.  Who will show up that God might show off in our presence?  Who will show up at future hearings, at the ballot boxes, and in the coffee hours of our churches and the coffee rooms of our workplaces?  God’s favor is not a reward for good behavior, but it is bestowed only on those He can trust.  Are we willing to become such?

            California leads the nation in the blood of Native Americans on our hands, in elective suicide, abortion, family break-ups, and the addictive cycles of drugs and pornography.  The Church is just as steeped in these things as any other demographic.  We do have a mandate and a responsibility to address these issues in the public square.  But we are going to have to re-earn the right to speak and – ironically – speaking out as we repent is part of that re-earning.  But until we do this spare me the prophecies about God’s favor resting on us.  He loves us, but He cannot be very proud of us in this hour.  We need to re-take the Sons of Issachar test.  

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships and The Holy Spirit and the End Times – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at