Tag Archives: liberty


Joshua M. Blahi is the man who was known as General Butt Naked during the Liberian Civil War which drew to a close in 1996. He always went into battle naked except for boots and weapons, hence his war name. I still find his story both troubling and perhaps redemptive.

Blahi’s crimes were heinous and revolting, including ritual sacrifice of young children and drinking of their blood and eating their hearts. Yet he claims to have been called by God while he was still in the midst of a battle. He says he immediately dropped his weapons and left the war entirely. After many weeks of fasting, prayer and counseling with a pastor he saw Jesus in vision and was told to repent and never return to his old ways. He says he knows he has been fully redeemed through faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. For awhile he lived in hiding in Ghana, but now preaches the Gospel in a church in Liberia. He was the only man involved in the Liberian Civil War who returned to the country and requested that he stand trial for his crimes, but there were no genocide laws at the time which he could be charged under.

After reading his story I felt compelled to write a poem about him, a poem that could just BE, with no judgment made. It was at first a very daunting and frustrating experience. My pitiful attempts at trying to describe what hand-to-hand combat might be like were stymied when the most beastly word I could think of was “snot.” I didn’t want to use profanity and yet I wanted to convey the idea of violence contrasted with the call to repentance and where the call might lead. It turned out to be both a physically and emotionally difficult task.

Blahi’s story is very controversial and he has many detractors who still feel he is “the most evil man in the world.” I do not know what crimes can be forgiven by God, but He is the only one who knows the hearts of men. Has He atoned for the General’s sins? I chose to write my poem as though I do believe, and yet questions remain. So here is my offering, I hope it causes thought on the possibilities of redemption for each human being.


Naked, plunging again into slaughter, aching
to inflict pain –
Furiously pounding pulse revels in screams
As legs push powerfully forward,
gasping effort of lungs, muscles and sinews
now wading – blindly – through sobbing moans, the
leaving life of others,
arms straining, stabbing, slashing;
– always forward through smoke and noise –
Drunken on blood, consumed hearts of
children form rivulets, greencongealing from mouth
and nose:

Insensate, lust of killing remains.

But now, suddenly – silence –
– – – choice – – –
between the familiar comforts of hell or
the rigors of Damascus –

Strange scene when God speaks, and
old ways cease.
Feet stop, filthy body slumps, sweating and spent –
Eyes see
(at last),
and back turns.

Who will believe this stranger in the land?


THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT:  YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, Deuteronomy 5:10. Tanakh Version, JPS.

One would think of this commandment as self evident in creating a civilized society. No such luck. Stealing has been a problem since humanity began. In ways large and small there are people who can always justify “taking” what they want or think they “need.” Is it a new pen, change from the cash drawer, shop lifting, or embezzling from the boss that tempts you? Would you get a thrill out of breaking and entering? Would you do it because you “deserve” more things or because “everybody else does it?”

Cain’s anger and choice to steal his brother’s flocks led directly to murder. How many murders today are the result of first deciding to steal?

Reading recently about the woman chosen to head ObamaCare in Colorado who has been indicted for embezzling massive amounts from a federal housing program in Wyoming leaves me scratching my head. It’s simply startling what people think they have a right to, and what they will do for financial gain. Some of them get away with their predations for many years and seem to never get caught. Some in the Government are known by Department heads to be padding accounts, double-dipping, and getting paid for personal travel for years and yet they receive no punishment at all when they are finally publicly exposed. They may even get promoted or simply transferred.

How much of the public debt has accrued because of theft and malfeasance all down the line? There is mind numbing malfeasance and outright theft by elected and appointed officials, and administrators within the bureaucracy, and recipients of government contracts and programs. Virtually penniless elected officials become millionaires, if not billionaires, and no one says a word.

In the end stealing leads not just to dishonor, fines or jail time for the thief, it also leads to a gradual breaking down of inhibitions in all who are willing to steal for their own gain. If the man at the top is willing to lie, cheat and steal, then the restraints that inhibit such behavior in others below him weaken and gross immorality occurs.

I have often wondered about Adolph Hitler’s underlings. If there had been no Hitler, would Eichmann, for instance, have been just a faceless bureaucrat all his days? Would the men who carelessly murdered and maimed their fellow citizens in the name of the state have been the animals they were? The same questions could be asked in any bureaucracy that falls into lawlessness. The old saying that, “A fish rots from the head down” is only the truth.

The public loss of confidence in the honesty and integrity of members of the government is another symptom of rot at the top. The corruption may take time to filter through society, but filtered or not, it does continue to taint all down the line and becomes public knowledge. TRUTH will out and eventually shine through to those who have open eyes to see and ears to hear. Many eyes and ears are beginning to open. Every honest citizen has begun to wonder if there is anyone at all in government worthy of trust.

God Himself has told His people not to steal. He knows how sin weakens us and always leads to greater sinning. Theft makes slaves of us all.




“With God all things are POSSIBLE.” — Matthew 19:26
“Without God all things are PERMISSIBLE.” — Fyodor Dostoyevski
“Without God all things are INEVITABLE.” — Gertrude Himmelfarb (?)

When I first read it, I thought the scripture in Matthew meant that since GOD was all powerful anything was possible for HIM, and it was a novel concept to begin to understand that if we have GOD with us then all things are possible for US. It certainly makes our human possibilities more profound.

Around us are people lost and struggling because they have cut themselves away from any moorings to God and think they have the right, the permission to do anything they wish. When there is nothing beyond his own will to consult it is easy for any man to become a law unto himself. When a man reaches that point in his life, anything at all becomes permissible, and there is no price to be paid except in the lives of others who run afoul of those who so believe.

Beyond being permissible, though, is the inevitable result of having no mooring in the reality of what happens to one’s soul when a person exercises unrighteous dominion over others, and the havoc one evil man or woman can cause to a nation and its people. When people with no moral foundations reach positions of power they pose a danger to everyone and everything within their sway.

Understanding how another can sear his or her conscience to the point where it no longer exists, to become a psychopath, is beyond the experience of most people, and they fail to recognize the danger in the facile charm that seems to be a trademark of the psychopaths among us.

The inevitable result when such people gain power is the loss of liberty and goodness for all they touch. Truth becomes one of the first casualties in the battle, and lies become coin of the realm.

You and I, in order to protect truth and integrity, must follow God, understanding that if HE is with us, all things truly are possible. Through study of the doings of men, prayer about all matters that face us, and honesty in our assessments, we need to ask ourselves, “What would HE have us do?” Sometimes facing that answer will cause us pain and fear. Repentance and a return to virtue are certain to be required. Great courage to repair our own lives will be needed in the task before us if we are to maintain our liberty.


Virtue is truly a pauper in our world, but it is also said to be it’s own reward. It seems then that virtue is an internal and personal matter between each man and God. External frontiers, such as public scorn and ridicule, should not deter us from holding on to and having faith in virtue as one source in our search for the truth that makes us free.

Will enough people repair their lives and regain faith in the possibility of having God help our nation in its struggle?

“Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot.”  DeToqueville


And there was war in Heaven. . . Revelations 12:7

When I was young and first heard about war in Heaven I tried to imagine what it was like. It seemed so exciting. Did Michael and his side win by throwing the largest lightning bolts, using the biggest swords, killing the most foes — but wait, we’re speaking of immortal beings here. They can’t be killed, can they? So just how IS a war fought in Heaven?

On earth war is bloody, grim, noisy, dirty and frightening. Terror and loss are always present. But Heaven? How could Heavenly Beings turn against their own?

Apparently there were those who thought they were smarter and better at determining the best interests of others and so decided to strike out against the Great God and all who sided with Him. That is the eternal war. There are always those who fight against agency and freedom and few who are willing to bear the burden of freedom. And there are also those willing to use that fear of freedom to seize control. The struggle between liberty and bondage, between darkness and light, has been the same from the beginning and will be to the end.

I have watched and considered the doings of nations, the history of brother against brother, and decided that the war in Heaven was one of IDEAS, of WORDS used to hurt and degrade, to lie and persuade, to promise safety. Even in Heaven as here in mortal existence, the war has been one of deceit and hatred in order to gain power and glory. Always power over others, to control and defeat them.

Watching the last political campaign, hearing the obvious lies and ignorance, the pandering to greed, the twisting of truth . . . and then, BINGO!, the answer to war in Heaven came! POLITICS! Politics were introduced into the Holy Realms and mankind became locked in the perpetual battle for their right to be free.

“I was never so free as when I was a prisoner.” I decided upon reading that statement by Alexander Solzhenitsyn that as choices narrow the final choice a man must make in order to remain human and free is to always be aware of righteousness and our individual responsibility to ACT well before God. To be willing to die if necessary to protect liberty.

I can’t remember who said it, but there was the thought that, “we often forget the essential humanness of God.” He does love His creatures and is very kind to those who love and serve Him. We are commanded to become as He is, completed and perfect. Hard, yes, but we are to do the best we can in the battle we face.

This is a very serious war for the souls of all men.