Thursday, August 29, 2019

Adolfo Caso Dedicates Poem, The Empty Nest, For Me -- Cool!

Glenda, I am dedicating the attached poem to you, because you have been a wonderful friend throughout my life. No poet has enjoyed a solidarity that you have given me


 (Dedicated to Glenda)

Guided by its own internal clock,
The brown finch
Silently and covertly
Flies by different routes
With grass blades in beak
Into the thickest branch
Of my evergreen arborvitae,

Looming strong and impenetrable
In the corner of my backyard
As though it were holding up
The house walls on each side
And protecting against
Would-be intruders or predators
From the outside.

Through my kitchen window 
I follow each flight of the finch,
From many directions,
Carrying its precious cargo into the tree
To build its nest.

And I feel miserable
Not knowing
Whether it is only the mother finch
Building that nest
Or with the father too
As I wished it would be,
With my other wish.
For her to pause And,
To sing me A love-song.

(Adolfo doesn't see him but This is the male finch singing to his female)

The nest completed,
Evidence for a successful clutch
Was in the reduced number of flights
Into the arborvitae,
Now a surrogate
For new life-forms in the making.

I moved to my deck chair
My back to the tree
To avoid perceived threats
To the emerging brood,
My heart in full wonderment
To see the fledglings--
As when I first saw
The beautiful face of each
Newly-born chick
And all the grandchildren
Together with
An indescribable expectation
Of the great-grandchildren
Yet to come;
My emotions are overwhelming
Over this deeply-felt
Non-duplicative joy!

A tumultuous crowing
With abrupt churning in the branches
Brought me to the outside;
Two crows dove down,
From the edge of the roof
Into the branch containing the nest.

Before I could take any action,
They flew away with as much clamor,
My mouth wide open
As my eyes caught sight of the finch
In the nearby tree,
Going from one branch to another
Desperately waiting
For destiny
To reveal itself.

My eyes glaring
Between the finch
And the branch,
I ran to the tree.
In bringing the twigs down gently,
I saw the empty nest,
Its destiny fulfilled
To my consternation
Knowing that no amount of despair
Could mitigate my affliction
And the loss to the finch,
Already poised to depart
The ramifications of the crows’ action,
Except for me,
A member of my species
With eyes
To see more,
And ears
To hear more,
And a heart
To pump more blood
Through these weather-beaten veins,
Needing only
A small amount of brain
To perceive the pain
Of the mother finch
And to feel that pain
Deep inside my heart.

With little comfort in knowing
That neither crow nor finch
Acted with the conscience of humans,
I am left alone in my solitary thoughts
To contemplate
That no action is without consequence,
That there is little
In the existentialism of Jean Paul Sartre
Except the utter nonsense of concluding
That after having done something,
What remains is nothing,
He being an avowed Marxist
A non-party affiliate,
Whose Soviet purges
Both within the party
And through its Gulags
Executed countless people
And even used each victim’s soul
To define its wanton nihilism
Within the scope of their programmed nothingness.

After having killed the body
And wiped out the God
Of more than 100 million people--
Their souls turned to nothing
According to Jean-Paul’s existentialism--
Now emboldened by the collaboration 

Of Bertrand Russell--
English patriot,
Who demonstrated against an easy America
Not to side with England
Against Hitler’s World War II--
A champion of anti-Americanism
Bertrand also excoriated America
Over the victims of the Vietnam War
While saying nothing,
Not one word
Against the perpetrators
Of the on-going Pol Pot genocides
The various sects of his United Nations’ body
And without one word of protest
From the followers
Of Confucius, or Mohammad,
Gandhi or Buddha.

Russell and Sartre:
Two Marxist would-be warriors
Joined together
On behalf of peace
Conditioned by their ideology
At the expense of millions
Of innocent victims
To grease the wheels of their un-feeling
Human-made killing machines.

The survivors continue to seek salvation
Through their religion
And a God
That can be temporarily denied but not suppressed,
Like the souls of men!

This kind of philosophy
Has always given me pause--
A bewilderment deepened
By my inability to understand
The behavior of the crow and of the finch
Let alone that of my fellow men
Bent on manipulating everything
Including our dreams
Be they a presage of happiness or anguish
Life or death
Or whether dreams are generated
Biologically or chemically
Without answering the basic question
Of why we dream in the first place!

Oh, Freud, such a misguided prophet
Using Eros and Thanatos to explain man-made wars
Or repressed sexual drives to explain our dreams
Or drugging his patients and self
In search of convenient man-made personal truths
Not found in nature
Without the scrutiny
Into his self-inflicted enslavement
And to that of his patients
Without ever a word on Hitler’s ultimate solutions
Or of Stalin’s raging the land,
Or of Mao’s ubiquitous purges,
Or on Einstein making decisions against Hitler--
Not one word
To preserve his people and fellow man!

Dying from self-administered drugs
Freud never knew he was discovering the means
To assure his and his patients’ bondage,

And not knowing, when he should have known,
He was void of either Eros or Thanatos.
He was sexually barren!

What am I to think and feel about a philosophy of life
That misses the point on every crucial issue
Of human behavior and solidarity?

Is it not possible that dreaming
Is a physiological necessity that keeps us alive
Each dream reflecting a phase
Of our physiological evolvement
As biological and social entities?
We respond to the stimuli
Of our pre-existing floating formulae,
As did all three men
Coming from the same area,
From the same people,
And from the same time:
Why did Hitler inherit his irreversible DNA?
And Einstein a different one?
And Freud still another?
Why mine!
Why your DNA?
Why the crow’s!

A perfect example of Sartre’s existentialism
Is in Freud’s irreversible behavior of self-destruction:
Neither ended in nothing
Nor filled the nothingness of phenomenology
Nor alleviated the suicidal pain
From life-afflicting drugs
Administered as wonder drugs
From Eros to Thanatos
As though life-forms could be explained
Through convenient formulae
As in Sartre’s existentialism.
Dreaming and dreaming are two different things,
The one,
A desire of what should be and is not
The other,
A chemical reaction
Of endless single or morphing frames
Without relevance to each other,
But interpreted
By Freud’s self-imposing personal relevance.

I sit in a triangle on my deck
Directly opposite the house
Whose walls enclose the arborvitae.
I look into my own mental images
Of  waves smashing ashore
Scattering untold and countless drops of water
In every direction and just as quickly disappearing.
Which drops are carrying the DNA for new life-forms?
Which drops are destined to enhance those now living?
Which drops are rushing back
To recycle the remnants
Of those of us who have just died?
In my dreaming,
I see the Spring of next year,
The branches greener, more full and vibrant
And as an ever-inviting tree
Waiting for the finch
To make its first pass
To renovate and renew its nest,
To bring its hatchling to their first flight
And to perch on the extreme end
Of an undulating branch,
To sing the love song
Of my life.

Wow! Extraordinary poem which include the greatest twist of all! Life then Death!
We are all so involved as we grow older with how long...will it be... And, yet, that is not something that normally would be on my mind. For the first time, physical problems have affected my daily life...and yet, it is something that shall pass, I believe... The stark movement from watching birth happen almost immediately followed by death is more real than most of us want to see or even contemplate. Yet it happens.

Death has become a predominant issue in today's world, as so much is happening at the government level that forces us to contemplate whether death shall come naturally, as intended, or because of the maddening issues that arise almost daily, sometimes hourly. I have no answers... Just as, perhaps, others are facing the same feelings. Questions seem to become larger, more important when chaos occurs. 

Yet, for many of us, there is a certainty of life after death, when we shall all meet again... Until then, my friend, Adolfo, thank you for dedicating your thoughts, your hopes, your internal, endless questioning... That we two do share...

And then I shall give you a love song... Agape, philia...the greatest loves of all!


Saturday, August 24, 2019

Readers' Guide to Those Who Dwell Upon The Earth by James D. Sanderson

After I first read the book, People Who Dwell Upon the Earth, I was going to ask the author to write an article to tell us why he had written the book. After I had looked through the Reader's Guide, I asked if I could just share the entire chapter, "A Novel of Social Protest." For me, this answered the question of "Why?"


There is really no understanding the poor, the homeless, the disenfranchised of American life. On the one hand there would seem to be enough for everyone – enough opportunity for all – we would only need to divvy it up properly. Because of this, there is a great distance between the wealthy, who believe everyone should work hard and pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and those who ‘are’ working hard, often two or three jobs between a husband and
wife, and yet who are unable to ever pull themselves up. Medical bills wipe out their meager savings. The car breaks down. They get stopped without insurance because they cannot afford insurance this month. They have to choose between light, heat, rent, food and a hundred other things that are getting more expensive all the time.
The distance – the lack of understanding - exists on the other side too. On the side of the working poor. They can’t see how they will ever get ahead. They know the game is rigged against them but they can’t figure out how. When the rent is due they are just as likely to buy a pack of cigarettes, a bottle of wine, or a big old birthday cake for their precious six-year old daughter. Their frustration with ‘the system’ grows until it erupts in anger – often directed at
each other – or ends in defeat and despair.
No one should have to live this way – too rich or too poor, because either extreme is bad for the soul. Yet a point seems to have been reached that leads to greater control of markets by corporations, by wealthy investors, by government cronies. By the capital class. While the working class is squeezed more and more and is in jeopardy of being crushed out of existence.
When the developers and speculators can reap obscene profits, while the butcher at the local grocery store cannot pay his bills, something has gone terribly wrong.
No one seems to know what to do.
‘Those Who Dwell Upon The Earth’ is a novel of social protest much like John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’. One of the primary criticisms of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ was that it presented a philosophy of communism. 
It is that same criticism that is likely to be leveled against ‘Those Who Dwell Upon The Earth’. When, in the extreme case of corruption, violence,
and oppression in a government, the common people are forced to rise up and take control of the mechanisms of power, some form of communism may be the result.
There are several differences between a communist state and a church community. First and foremost is belief in God and the Bible, and a commitment to following the prompting of the Holy Spirit. There is a huge difference between a totalitarian police state and a loving and benevolent Father God.
The second difference is found in the voluntary nature of giving and sharing in the Christian community as found in Acts 2:42-48, and other places, and the mandatory ‘sharing’ that is found in a communist system. Being forced to contribute does not lead to loving care for one another. It leads to deceit and fear and anger.
The third difference between a communist state and a Christian community is the general sense of wanting to comply with God’s will, as opposed to being forced to comply with a central committee or power, or a single dictator. There are many other differences as well.
‘Those Who Dwell Upon The Earth’ anticipates what it would look like for a small Christian disciple group to act and lead in a world that has suffered the great agony of financial collapse, nuclear bombardment, and another world war. How would their way be different from the way of the world?
What we see in this novel is not a turn toward communism, but a way for people to move forward in the loving embrace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is truly a different kind of Christian fiction. It is literary, intelligent, action-packed – being thrust forward by a sense of
community movement – and very important for today’s Christian trying to ‘make it’ in the real world.

A Readers Guide - a Study Guide means that you wish to spend more time with understanding about the book, Those Who Dwell Upon the Earth, by James D. Sanderson. And this guide is one of the best I've seen.

Not only does it contain a synopsis, but it reviews each and every chapter telling you what is covered during that part of the story. Reading the study guide, I realized just how much is covered in the book. Of course, just too much to mention in my review, but it is also a simple way of searching for and finding a specific chapter which you might want to review or share with others.

For instance, I realized that I had not one mention about a most significant thrust of the book--that of nonviolence. For someone who totally agrees with the need to move in that direction, I was gratified to see and read how to deal with the elimination of guns in today's world. Even in the book, it was not successful in action scenes. But was quickly reviewed and taught further in the church, classes, and more

Research of related books were reviewed to illustrate the difference between other similar books. Utopia versus Dystopia, noting that this book was written with a utopia futuristic life. While, at the same time, providing a little about each of the references so that further discussion can happen.

Yes, the guide is for both individual as well as group discussion. I suggest the latter since there is so much to explore and think about...what you might want to do to start living a nonviolent life and one that follows the teachings of Christ. Particularly the Sermon on the Mount.

One of the questions covered is one that haunts us these days. Can we, as Christians, really follow the words of Jesus?

There is also a list of ten questions for discussion or further individual study. Style of writing and format is also discussed so that the book itself can be understood from all angles.

Whether you use the Readers Guide is your choice... You may decide to read the novel and allow it to speak to you, which is wonderful. But if you are a member of a book club, or enjoy further study of the scripture behind a book, then I highly recommend this one for your consideration!


May This Book, and Guide, Fill you with Peace and Faith...

Friday, August 23, 2019

Those Who Dwell Upon the Earth by James D. Sanderson A Must-Read Masterpiece...

My first encounter with a book by Hal Lindsey was quite exciting. I was young enough that I thought and looked forward to the time when Christ would come again. Since then, I've read a few more books on the topic and realized that it was not up to man to decide when that Second Coming would occur. Nor, was it necessarily to be associated with the end of the world. Yet time after time it is routinely brought up. During the present, one of the points made was related to Jerusalem. Yet, nothing happened... We didn't see a change just because America decided to relocate, or did we? 

The thing that I've come to question is whether or not the "good" would be taken before "that" occurred. Suppose, just suppose that's not what happens. What if a North Korea nuclear bomb destroyed much of the world. But, there were still Those Who Dwell Upon the Earth? 

One of the questions posed would then be, are we ready to dwell here on earth as a follower of Jesus?  There was another Jesus who is the main character in this book. He, too, found it hard to live within America as the future has left us. How would you do?

A stick of black helicopters skirted the far edge of the dawn.  No one knew change was coming, least of all the four brothers.  They made their way along the shoreline toward the north end of the lake.  All night a filthy rain had fallen and now the sun was trying to open its sticky eye.  
One of them, Thomas, waded out to his knees to retrieve a good-sized carp that had gone belly up.  He held it up triumphantly, his fingers jammed up into its gills, and said, “It doesn’t look too bad.”  Now he examined it in an animated way, as with a critical eye.  “Not bad at all.” 
“I can smell that thing from here,” one of the others said. In spite of that comment, Thomas brought the fish along with him back to the shore. 
They were trying to find a man others had told them about.  “A man who knows everything.” 
“No one knows everything,” another of the men, James, had said.  He was bookish, so he should know.  Bookish was a word that had been used before the advent of computers.  Now, whenever a book was found in the rubble and wreckage of a lost building, he would carefully dig it out.  
The others laughed and hooted.  “What are you going to do with that?” 
“Read it,” he’d say with a bemused smile. 
“What for?” 
“For a while.” 
“He’s found another cookbook.” 
“Not this time.”  He’d hold up his latest treasure – whether ‘Fathers and Sons’ or ‘Trout Fishing in the Rockies,’ carefully brush it off and place it in his carry bag.  He seemed to be physically afflicted when he was forced to discard one to make room for another.  A man can carry only so much weight. 
The third brother, Andrew, took the lead now.  “Let’s get going,” he said. “What’s your hurry?”  Thomas was considering gutting and cleaning the carp then and there. 
“We haven’t got all day.”  He set out. 
“Yeah, yeah.” The fourth among them, Matthew, was somewhat quieter than the others.  He had fine features and sandy hair.  
They were brothers, as different as they were from one another… 
Along here bushes and small trees had begun to sprout and grow.  Future replacements for those that had been charred in the unquenchable fires. 
They smelled breakfast smoke some minutes before they came upon a young man sitting on a rock warming his hands at a fire.  Several fine trout were laid out, prepared to join the two that were already popping and cooking on an improvised metal grate.
“Why don’t you join me,” the man said, looking up at them with gentle eyes. “We might do that,” Andrew said. 
“We could eat,” Thomas said. 
“Why don’t you go bury that carp?  It looks corrupted.” Thomas turned part way to his left and slung the fish back into the lake.  The splash it made was upsetting in the still of the morning. 
“Please…”  The young man motioned for them to sit on the fallen log and several rocks that were naturally arranged around the fire.  
They did not sit. “We’re looking for a man we’ve heard about,” James said. “What man?” 
“A man they say knows everything.” 
“No one knows everything,” their host said with a snicker. 
“That’s what I said.”  James seemed pleased to have said it. 
“Tell me,” Thomas pointed at the fish.  “Where’d you get these perfect trout?  Not in this lake.” 
The man pursed his lips and jerked his chin Native American style toward the top of the lake.  “A perfect stream feeds this lake.” 
“No one is stocking these streams.” 
“Native cutthroat and rainbow are making a comeback.” 
“Now that things are… recovering?” 
“That’s right.” Thomas grunted.  “That’s a miracle!” 
The stranger began to break off pieces of the hot fish and hand them around.  The brothers patted the hot pieces back and forth in their hands, blowing on them before they burned their fingers.  He picked up the other trout and placed them on the hot grill.  
The four brothers finished eating quickly and stood around waiting for the rest of the fish to be cooked. 
“Say,” the younger man said, “you all seem to be pretty easy around strangers… considering… everything.” 
James laughed shortly.  “You don’t seem very dangerous.” 
Thomas lifted his flannel shirt and undershirt, and proudly showed the 9mm Glock he was carrying in his belt. 
“Is it loaded?”
 “Of course,” he growled.  “This baby puts an end to a lot of foolishness.” 
“I can see that it would.” 
“Like he said,” he pointed at James.  “You don’t seem very dangerous.” 
“I’m not,” the other agreed amiably. 
“Where are your weapons?” 
“I get by without them.” 
The brothers looked askance of each other.  Finally Thomas said, “Bears are making a comeback too.” 
The young man smiled.  “I know.”  After a long pause he asked their names.  The oldest was James, bookman.  Then Thomas, the wild one.  Then Andrew, who seemed calculating somehow.  Then Matthew, the quiet. 
“What’s your name?” 
“My name is Jesus.” 
Again the brothers looked at each other, not quite believing what they had heard.  James asked the obvious question.  “You mean like… the real Jesus?” “I’m not him, of course.  But that’s what my parents named me.” 
“And your parents…” 
“Ours too. In the Great… whatever it was.” 
The moment passed.  The tension caused by the speaking of that name eased.  “I don’t know what was so great about it,” Thomas said at last.  An old joke, but it seemed to work now among strangers. 
“Sit down.  Sit down.” The brothers sat.  Jesus passed out the rest of the fish.  They ate in silence. 
Then, “Are you headed anywhere?” Andrew asked.  “Or is this your home?” “I’ve been here forty days.  You?” 
“As we said, we are looking for this man…  We’ve become curious about him.” Jesus nodded.  “You have made me curious too.  Perhaps we could look for him together.” 
The brothers conferred silently, looking back and forth at each other.  Then Andrew said, “Sure, why not?” 

The book begins by using familiar names of characters of the Bible. I thought about this more as I read. Do names really matter? Jesus, for the sake of acquiring attention, was used for the main character. But, other than that, wouldn't the same be happening if we are Christians of any name, maybe Glenda, or Harold, who have been and are now, because of "The Troubles" being even more persecuted by a lawless, powerful, and unmerciful world that includes, the government, the rich corporations...and the Certain Way of Truth Church, the official church of our country...

The average American was hungry, had no money, if working, may have had a job where they had no control over anything that happened there. Perhaps they were not even welcomed at the Certain Way of Truth Church...

Opening with a scene that could have appeared in the Bible...but in reverse...we come upon a group of brothers who were roaming through the country...One saw a large fish, which wasn't so much damaged from the radiation that... well, he carried it for awhile... Until the brothers came upon a stranger who was cooking fish over a fire, and had plenty more waiting. Not sitting down, they stood, gaping perhaps at the fish. The man asked if they would like to join him...

His name, he said, was Jesus. And at their surprise, quickly said he was not that one, but his mother thought he was destined for good things and so named him after the Savior... It is not hard to get into the use of Jesus as a main character. After all, we have read about Him often in the Bible... Yes, the Bible was extensively referred to, taught, and taken as to how to deal with what had happened to the world that God had made for all of us.

They had found an old building and claimed it in the Name of the Lord.
You may be familiar with WWJD (What would Jesus Do?) Jesus, the main character, answers the questions from his ever-growing followers...and government officials, based upon the teachings of Jesus. Jesus began, with his four new friends, by feeding them when they were hungry. Then he talked about everybody sharing what they had with everybody else and purchase what was available for distribution. They had found an old building and claimed it in the Name of the Lord. That was their first building where everybody's needs were met. At the same time, he began to spend time talking about Jesus and how his words and acts would respond to all their needs. Soon the town was flourishing, with nobody hungry. A bartering system was implemented...and more...

What was happening soon became a concern, however, was being grown and not purchased, for instance. Food merchants began losing money. A doctor had joined the group and soon was serving medical needs...

Then, one day, the doctor was "The Fist of Christ," and worked to put fear into the doctor. He responded by asking what they wanted from him. They answered that they were displeased a shop had been set up as a church, when there's a perfectly good church already." And they did't have a license!

Gasping now, the doctor replied as best he could, “Illness and physical limitations are actually part and parcel with the cycle of poverty.  When a worker gets sick, he misses work.  He doesn’t get paid for the time he misses.  The people prefer their own bad system over the shiny but expensive, and thus unattainable, state system.”

Soon, empty housing that had been boarded up, were also claimed in the Name of Jesus... Housing was being provided through the work of others and sharing to those in need...

You may think that all of these are good things--yes, that this was what Jesus would do... But, Jesus and his followers were rejected, harassed, thrown in jail...building owners of those empty buildings sought their legal rights to have eviction of those now in their buildings...

Many of these things have happened already, the poor and homeless are not welcomed. Those seeking asylum are abused and threatened. Children are separated from their parents. Religion is being used to serve the needs of the rich and powerful and for political gain.

But WWJD if he were here...If we have already reached the point, after The Troubles" where America had totally changed to exclude the downtrodden, those yearning to be free. When we know, then, that the nuclear bomb is not the worst thing that could happen to America and the World...

Sanderson has written what I must call a masterpiece story where the apocalypse was not the result of the was the result of power and greed and a loss of Love... where even then, a new, epic story arises, through those who are being led by the man who also was called Jesus...And the power of God's Son...

I would call this a must-read recommendation. More on the Study Guide Soon...


I have been a writer nearly my entire life. Even at age twelve I was writing short stories, though I’m sure they would seem embarrassingly childish now. At times it seemed the only way I could express myself. 
I always read great literature as well. My friends made fun of me when I brought a large book with me to ball practice. In fact I read everything I could get my hands on – from adventure novels to the latest articles in Field and Stream or Outdoor magazines. 
Growing up in Michigan, I was a big fan of Hemingway, but I read Dickens and Pearl Buck and Conrad and Willa Cather and, later, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. My love for books has not diminished with age. 
I have written a short work of nonfiction – ‘Called To Love’ about the Christian love ethic – and a collection of short stories – ‘Sacred Are the Brave’ about the nonviolent revolutions of the 1980s, available on Amazon Kindle. 
I wanted to write a novel that would express everything I know about writing and faith and the Church – especially the New Testament Church. I hit upon a time in the near future when believers would face many trials – from an authoritarian government, terrorists, an ‘official’ church, and the wreckage of an apocalyptic event, in this case nuclear war. 
How will our faith hold up in such a time? My wife and I have been in a unique ministry for thirty years. In all that time we have ministered to the poor, the disenfranchised, the homeless, and the addicted. 
Ours has not been a ‘normal’ experience of church. Out of that experience, then, has grown my latest novel, ‘Those Who Dwell Upon the Earth’. It will be released on September 1st in Kindle and Trade Paperback. A Reader’s Guide will also be available on Kindle. An audio version will be available soon as well. 
For more about me and my work please see my blog: