Maybe It’s Time to Abolish the 2nd Amendment

Another week, another shooting.

Did you even notice? How long will the thoughts and prayers last? How long till the cries for gun control legislation and the equally strident reaction against gun control legislation subside?

What sickens me the most is the dullness, the collective weariness, the paralysis due to fear and partisanship. Can we really take no steps?

I love guns. I own a gun. I want to be able to own a gun.

I likewise mistrust the government. Governments, though necessary, must be kept in check as they inherently seek to accumulate power. A government unchecked inevitably yields a people oppressed.

Yet, can we really do nothing? Why don’t we quit squabbling and act?

Maybe it’s time to abolish the 2nd Amendment.

Before you burn me in effigy or brand me a liberal (sheesh), hear me out.

The Founding Fathers composed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in a different time, a different epoch, and really, in a different nation.

Our nation has changed, fundamentally perhaps irreversibly.

The Fathers wrote the Constitution with a certain paradigm, through the prism of faith and the proliferation of the common grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All the Fathers were not Christians and all men of their day were certainly not of Christ, but the Gospel was taught and proliferated. The common grace of the Gospel is that its proliferation restricts sin. Where the Gospel is preached, things are just better.

We live today in a post-Christian nation. The Gospel is anathema to much of our country. The fastest growing religion is secular humanism and much of our nation is un-churched or de-churched, having walked from Christ years ago. A large and fast-growing segment of our nation is 2nd generation unchurched meaning that their parents were un-churched. They were not raised in the church or taught simple biblical concepts like sin, repentance, and salvation.

The Prince of the Power of the Air rules our nation today.

The Fathers could not have foreseen this when they composed the Bill of Rights.

Did they assume a nation that would drift this far from Christ? Did they assume we’d exchange the glory of God for a lie and worship and serve the created thing rather than the Creator?

Would they ever have anticipated widespread godlessness, that we would forsake the Lord and celebrate our sin? Could they have known that we’d slaughter our children in the womb by the tens of millions for the sake of convenience or that we’d embrace deviancy and fierce rebellion at every turn? Could they have foreseen the global and national epidemic of chemical addiction, addiction that enslaves a vast multitude?

Would they have written the 2nd Amendment as it is if they’d have known?

For reference, seven weeks into 2018 and there have been 8 school shootings resulting in injury or death. There have been 30 mass shootings overall this year, defined as a shooting whereby four or people have been shot.

Every year, it becomes ever more commonplace. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Orlando. Texas First Baptist Church. Las Vegas. San Bernardino. Sandy Hook. Aurora. Red Lake. The list goes on.

At some point this becomes sickeningly routine. At what point do we start counting this as the cost of a well-armed but largely godless population? What else would we expect?

I understand that this is a complicated issue. I understand that regulations already exist, that most gun-owners are law-abiding citizens. I understand the difference between a semi-automatic weapon and a fully automatic weapon and that criminals will always find ways to get a gun if they desire.

I truly understand these things but drastic times call for drastic measures. Perhaps its time to abolish the 2nd Amendment. Perhaps we no longer deserve the right to keep and bear arms.

Perhaps we surrendered that right the moment defense of that right receives more vigor and zeal than our call to make disciples of all the nations, starting with our children.

My heart weeps for our nation.

 

 

 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

Sex in a Godless Army (part 3): Do We Really Want Equality?

Apart from the Gospel, few things provoke the godless more than the biblical sexual ethic.

My military experience has offered me some unique insight into gender inclusion. The unit I served for many years never had women below the Brigade level though it has since been integrated. At one point, we literally had 13 women in an organization of over 3,000.

When I got sent to the Division, I found myself surrounded by women. I had female commanders, female 1SG’s, female lieutenants and a litany of female soldiers, and most of these soldiers were intensely professional.

More than a few of the young female soldiers were single mothers who had replaced their child’s absentee father with the Army. They had literally replaced the stability and support that the father is supposed to provide with the stability and support of the Army, and again many of them were great soldiers for whom I have tremendous respect.

As the rear detachment Brigade Commander, my S3, the officer in charge of running the entire Brigade, a position normally reserved for a major, was a female captain. She was one of the best officers I have worked with. Intelligent, physically fit, and motivated—I rated her as #1 among the nearly 30 officers I rated in her grade. I would proudly serve with her again.

A soldier is a soldier, or so goes the mantra.

Yet, when you remove all the other differences and treat everyone the same, sexual difference becomes the only thing you notice. As much as attempting to treat men and women the same could potentially damage the mission, its potential to damage women is even greater.

Is equality truly a virtue, something to pursue?

This is Equality?

The Army has stayed the course in attempting to treat males and females the same, something that was entirely shocking to me upon my reemergence into the force. In the field, we even share sleeping tents. There is no female tent. I found this highly unusual.

The Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) perfectly highlights the unavoidable.

In Combatives, there are no males or females, only soldiers. This means any male soldier could find himself grappling with a female soldier. Combatives looks like a cross between wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu and places the opponents in what could be considered very intimate positions. Bodies are pressed against bodies. Legs are wrapped around waists. Call me antiquated, but I found this to be very inappropriate. As we instituted a robust Combatives program, I frequently found myself confronted with the prospect of engaging with a female. (I would combat this by pretending to be too tired at that point and needing to sit out for a round or two.)

Aside from the inappropriate contact, one engagement I witnessed highlighted the absurdity. I had a young lieutenant built like Mike Tyson, thick and powerful, taking on a young female officer who was built like a typical female, small and frail by comparison. It was a joke. The male kind of toyed with her a bit, somewhat bemused by the situation and more than a little uncomfortable, and then at some point, he kind of grabbed her as gently as he could and pushed her to her back and achieved the dominant mount position. She even uttered out a little cry as he took her down. Though he did it as gently as he could, it looked like domestic violence practice.

This encounter highlights Army “equality”, a rather low view of women. Sexual assault and rape become the nasty by-products.

Absent a biblical foundation of complementarianism, young men are taught at home and reinforced by the military that she is no different from him aside from the fact that she possesses a vagina, not someone to be cherished and respected. Men take what they want from other men all the time, by force if necessary. Why not do the same with her?

So the military continues to perform cheetah flips to spit out it’s next poster child, but for every Haver or Griest we generate, how many women suffer? How many women must we sacrifice on the altar of equality to maintain this farce, this charade?

This is Equality

As men tend to sin by oppressing women, we actually denigrate women by placing them on the same level as men. We, men, should elevate the position of women.

My wife and I teach all six of our sons that you “treat a girl like a flower”—they can all recite this on command. If they hit one another then okay, “no blood, no foul,” but if they hit a girl, my granddaughter for instance, I come down on them with the full wrath and fury of the Lord God, Almighty.

Return with me once more to the Garden, to creation. Consider that God made everything—the heavens and the stars, the sun and the moon, the earth and the sky, the beasts of the field, the fish of the waters. God made everything by His spoken word, and then He brought forth man and put Him in the Garden to work it, to have dominion over it. He taught man His statutes, and only when all of creation was prepared and ready, poised, He brought forth woman. Adam then exclaimed, “This one at last, is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.”

The Bible adamantly speaks to the elevation of women by men, lest they be oppressed by those very same men.

I return to my daughters. When I think of them and their prospective husbands, I don’t want for them equality. I don’t want a husband for them who treats them the same as he treats his buddies. My desire is that a man comes along and treat them as a Princess, that he cherish them and hold them in the highest regard, that he sees them as the weaker vessel, the ceramic vase, the butterfly that they are and conducts himself accordingly—gentle, honorably, with respect.

In striving for what we designate as equality, our nation and our Army endangers women, placing them in a lesser position than God intended. And, as we will soon be sharing a bathroom, shower facility, and locker room if our secular overlords have their way, it will only get worse.

Clarification

Before proceeding, I am led to clarify a point. Lest you misunderstand, I am advocating for the distinction of women, the opposite of degradation. I am an advocate for women in the service. I have served alongside amazingly competent women, officers and enlisted, every bit the warrior and patriot of their male counterparts. However, perhaps we can do it better, honor both the unique nature of men and women while simultaneously utilizing their requisite skills for the defense of the nation.

Solution

It is here that my assessment falls admittedly short. The most obvious answer is, “Repent!”

Collectively, as a nation, the only solution is revival, to abandon the secular slide and turn once more to the ways of the Lord. Apart from a dramatic supernatural intervention in this fashion, the question must be framed appropriately, an exceedingly difficult venture.

“What do we do?” becomes,

“How do we generate godly sexual behavior while still clinging to and teaching a godless sexual ethic?” which specifically translate to,

“How do we teach our young men to respect and cherish young women while still teaching them that they are the same, minus the presence of a penis or a vagina?”

We should immediately abandon the farce that men are the same as women. Allow men to be men and women to be women. Re-segregate basic training. Re-segregate billeting. Re-segregate sleeping quarters. Segregate Combatives training. Inject a manner of separation and quit trying to teach men and women that they are the same. Quite the opposite, we ought to honor and celebrate our God-given sexuality, male and female, instead of foolishly pretending that once a person slaps on a uniform, they somehow become asexual.

Second, we should at least teach a godly ethic as an option. At least tell them the truth, that there is another option, another way.

Third, we should seriously reconsider the introduction of women into ground combat and their inevitable inclusion in the Selective Service. Can women fight? Of course. I think of Stalingrad and Kobani, yet these were unique circumstances for a desperate time. Description is not identical to prescription, and we need to be able to differentiate. A better question that we must ask is “ought a woman to fight?”

Should we intentionally send our women to do the dirty business of ground combat?

As I know that these things will likely never happen—we’ve drifted too far—I return to my original plea for America.

“Repent.”

The Series

Brave Rifles: Sex in a Godless Army (part 1)

Sex in a Godless Army (part 2): The Illusion of Gender Equality

Brave Rifles: The Problem of a Godless Army

Brave Rifles: The Danger of a Godless Army

Brave Rifles: The Theology of War

 

 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

No Ticker Tape—Burn in H*** Little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes

The email hit my inbox with the subtlety of a GBU-56. “CIF appointment Monday at 12:30.” Boom!

Panic set in. Monday, gulp. It was Friday.

Over the last 18 years I accumulated a veritable mountain of kit. My cage was crammed with bags of gear. Woodland BDU’s, a barrack’s bag issued in 2000 that I’ve never opened, heaps of pouches and boots and sunglasses, UCP stuff, OCP stuff, FREE system, ICWCS, maybe ten jackets—the summation of Uncle Sugar’s two decades of lavishing.

His pockets run deep.

How could I ever sort, organize, account for and even clean (yeah right) this abomination of desolation? The task seemed insurmountable.

CIF beckoned, the detested Central Issue Facility, the source of so much angst and corporate ire.

The dreaded little old lady in tennis shoes awaited.

The LOLITS

The Army, like all government institutions, is awash in red tape. The priestess of the red tape is the little old lady in tennis shoes.

While negotiating any Army system, in-processing or whatever, she is the arbiter, the gatekeeper of said system, a figurative character, a nasty civilian who’s been doing this singular job longer than you’ve been alive. She’s seen soldiers come and go, heard all manner of excuses, seen all manner of absurdity, and maintains little sympathy for your lot in life.

Don’t cross the “I”s or dot the “T”s and she’ll not render you the desperately needed stamp or signature or entry into the appropriate database. In out-processing the Army, I’ll negotiate a battalion of little old ladies in tennis shoes.

Now I had to face the nastiest of them all, the CIF little old lady, a stickler for those three dreaded words: accountability, serviceability, and cleanliness.

PCC’s/PCI’s

I did what I had to do, I called for back-up.

I issued a FRAGO to the spousal unit, jumped in my truck, and headed for the compound. Heavy D in the unit issue facility hooked me up with a list of what I owed—I didn’t recognize half of it—and I headed for my cage to see how to avert the impending train wreck.

I had to go systematic. I started by sorting according to decade. Old woodland stuff over here, Smurf-colored junk over here, actual modern and useful OCP stuff over here. Stuff that I had no idea what it was, over here. Unopened and unused stuff in this pile.

At some point, I surveyed the growing piles and compared them against the typically-odd language of the Army inventory list and began to panic a bit.

I called Ami to inform her of the potential blood-letting. She exhorted me to get back to work. I briefly contemplated who I might pay to get me out of this mess and then girded up my loins and got back to sorting.

“Sort and pack your gear in reverse order of the inventory sheet,” was the CIF guide’s bland instructions. I opted for packing by pile. After determining that I had a large portion of the gear and then some, I contemplated cleaning…cleaning?! How do you clean a pouch? A rucksack? Do I really need to paint my E-tool (folding shovel for you laymen)?

I quickly formulated a three-fold strategy:

-I would first present my copious amounts of unopened, unused OCP kit. Surely that would ingratiate me to the demons at CIF.

-Second, I would present the most outdated equipment to include the unopened barracks bag. Perhaps the humor of the situation would further soften their hearts.

-Finally, I would overwhelm them with volume, praying that the sheer amount of kit I showed up with would mitigate their attention to detail. Along with that, I’d ensure they knew I was retiring, not some flunky merely PCSing to another assignment. Maybe I’d get another retiree as an inspector, possibly receive some thanks-for-my-service-type charity.

At this point I was not beyond leveraging any angle.

One Last Drag

Whoever invented the Army kit bag is a devil straight from the pits of hell. For those of you unfamiliar, the Army kit bag is roughly a large cube, capable of holding approximately 200 pounds of equipment (hyperbole, somewhat), with two comparatively tiny handles. Human ergonomics were definitely not factored into it’s design.

It’s almost as if someone intentionally designed a bag to be difficult to handle.

Unless you are of professional basketball player dimensions, there is no good way to carry them. You could do one in each hand though you hit either grip or trapezius muscle failure. Some would sling one onto their shoulders Atlas style. Still others would even drag them…hence the coining of the apt though not entirely accurate label, “The Duffel Bag Drag”.

I had done the Duffel Bag drag across the globe. From one garden spot to the next, always dragging more kit bags than I could ever carry. In the desert heat, the middle of the night across some dusty tarmac, sweaty and worn from hours of travel, still wearing the same underwear after 36 straight hours—you know the drill.

This day I did one last Duffel Bag Drag, 10 bags from my cage to my truck.

The Engagement

“Smith, Inspector X,” came the call.

I presented as friendly of a smile as I could muster and turned to greet my inspector with just a hint of a carefully-crafted, self-deprecating countenance. Here was the noble warrior riding into the sunset after years of warfare. So what if his kit was a little disarrayed, maybe not as clean as it should’ve been? At least that’s what I hope I portrayed.

The inspector rounded the corner and stopped short, surveying my pile of 10 stuffed bags. I looked around and scoffed at the neatly-packed two to three bags of my fellow inspectees and looked back to the inspector hopefully.

“This all yours?”

This was it, the watershed of my military career, nearly two decades of persistent conflict and all that stood between me and freedom was this man and his good graces.

He called for back-up. Uh oh.

Thirty minutes later and my plan was working like a champ. My still-packaged kit had clearly greased the skids. We joked about retirement—praise Jesus but my inspector was himself a retiree. I made a show of inquiring about his service, his family…make it personal, keep it friendly.

The pile surrounding me grew and so I moved into phase 2 and presented, with much aplomb, my unopened barracks bag. A Kevlar! An old-school LBE! A web belt. The inspector(s) gleefully examined each pristine relic from a bygone epoch, even reminiscing about when they had donned such fine gear.

It was happening perfectly!

I audaciously moved into phase 3 and began presenting my highly-used, but not exactly clean gear, obscuring it intentionally in a mountain of excess gear. The inspector(s) at some point exchanged a knowing look. Were they onto me? Was bottom about to fall out?

Thirty minutes later and the inspector(s) handed me the completed inventory. After 22 years and 9 months, I owed precisely a 1-quart canteen, a brown fleece jacket, and a belt.

Victory was mine.

I practically danced a jig as I swaggered out of the facility. I had vanquished the little old lady in tennis shoes forever.

Final Fires

The rest of out-processing was a relative breeze and try as I might, I couldn’t summon one shred of sentimentality.

Driving around the compound, I recalled the first time 18 years ago that I walked into the hangar, a brash young officer full of zeal and naiveté.

My mind drifted to my earliest days, to the first 10 days of Cadet Basic Training that I didn’t take a single crap. No kidding. I recalled the day I assessed favorably for the unit and drove from this very gate, whooping in delight and pounding the ceiling of my rental car. I recalled the day I waited seven hours to get onto the compound, the day our collective lives changed irrevocably, September 11th.

Driving from the compound was as anti-climactic as it had to be. No ticker tape parade, no fireworks, no flyover. Maybe I should’ve requested the Division band. All entirely appropriate.

The quiet professional, the noble warrior, requires neither the affectations of men nor the worldly praises coveted by others. When his work is complete, the final role call taken, the warrior is content to drift into irrelevancy, to fade into obscurity.

It was never about him anyway.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

Sex in a Godless Army (part 2): The Illusion of Gender Equality

I’m no Rambo, but I have never met a woman I couldn’t kill with my bare hands.

People will hear what they want to hear, see what they desire to see. Many will read this and hear sexism, patriarchy. They will denounce the conclusions before understanding. 

That is not a statement of either, but a statement of fact that bears relevance to certain discussions.

One of the primary manifestations of wickedness in the hearts of men is the oppression of women. The military in many ways foments this by bending to our civilian masters in refusing to acknowledge the fact that gender equality is an illusion, a charade, and harmful one at that.

A Permissive and Necessary System

Gender equality only exists as allowed by a system. Absent a permissive society, in the presence of anarchy, women are decidedly vulnerable due to their weaker bodies and kinder natures. Do exceptions exists? Undoubtedly, and women are as capable of brutality as any man.

Yet men possess a corner on the market for the application of brute force and brutality. Almost all violent crime is committed by young men. Almost all domestic violence is committed by men. Men, unrestrained, excel in the oppression of women and the application of violence. This is a fact borne out by history and declared by God in the Garden. (Genesis 3:16)

The key notion is restraint, and it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that restrains the brutality of men and provides the conditions for equality. Jesus was the greatest proponent and protector of women. In the patriarchal 1st century Jewish culture, women were subservient, second-class citizens living completely at the mercy of their male overlords.

This is also the case in every other society since, other than those based upon a Judeo-Christian heritage. Can you name a single matriarchal society? I can’t. They don’t exist; they never have. Atheistic, Buddhist, or Hindu Eastern societies are all decidedly patriarchal. Never mind that every single Muslim society openly oppresses women, many in an extremely brutal fashion. No, it is the common grace of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ that protects women from the sin of men.

As the Gospel ebbs from our collective conscience, I fear the consequences, specifically for women.

A Dangerous Fantasy

I have an aunt who maintains a decidedly liberal outlook on all matters. At the height of the national debate concerning bathroom use and allowing men who identify as women to use female bathrooms and changing facilities, she made the comment to me that she didn’t need my protection in a bathroom. She could take care of herself.

During the 2016 Miss USA pageant, the eventual winner, Miss District of Columbia who also happens to be a reserve Army officer, was asked about the Pentagon’s decision to open ground combat positions to women. Without hesitation, she declared her enthusiastic support, “We are just as tough as men!”

Both of these women live in fantasy world.

My Aunt is a little old lady and any grown man who followed her into the bathroom could literally do whatever he wanted, were it not for the intervention of…another man. The veracity of Miss USA’s statement depends on what you mean by tough. My wife is one of the toughest people I know. She is a fearless mother, tireless and strong. In fairness, I would not want her next to me in a gunfight. Miss USA’s statement rings true while she’s wearing a glittery dress, replete with tiara and a bouquet of roses. Put her under a rucksack confronted with a bevy of grown men trying to kill her and her comrades, and the charade loses its luster.

Refusing to acknowledge the inherent godly differences and that a system is necessary endangers both women and the mission. Removing the veil of Christ’s protection and provision for women places them at risk, yet we cannot acknowledge that lest we offend the sensibilities of the secular masters of this nation.

The Rhino and the Butterfly

Peter writes,

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel(1 Peter 3:7)

As much as concepts of submission offend so readily, so too does the idea of weakness. Many seethe over the connotation.

Consider another angle. Consider weakness in terms of fragility, as in the fragility of a ceramic vase—weak, fragile, beautiful really, delicate, and valuable. Consider a ceramic vase versus a steel pot, the man, or perhaps a butterfly versus a rhinoceros. Some situations require the attributes of a rhino. Would you really send a butterfly to do the work of such a beast?

A recent deployment aboard an Air Force C-17 provide a nice example. The assistant loadmaster was a young lady, though it took me a minute to realize it. She sported a short, boyish haircut and walked and acted like a man, sort of. It took me a minute to realize that this was, in fact, a female. Once I did, it was extremely obvious that this was a female acting like a male. Now, whether she was ‘trans’ or not, whatever that actually means, I don’t know. Maybe she was just a boyish female. Either way, her femininity was obvious despite her best attempts to portray masculinity.

It became even more obvious when she had to do things. The loadmaster on a C-17 is responsible for all the cargo, to ensure it is loaded correctly and safely. At one point, the head loadmaster directed the young woman to secure a pile of plastic boxes with a cargo strap. I stood out of the way and watched this young lady fumble with the industrial strength cargo straps for several minutes with no success before needing the assistance of the loadmaster, a man. She simply did not possess the strength and leverage to make the straps work.

Shortly before takeoff, the loadmaster directed the young lady to close the door to the aircraft and yet again, she could not complete the task, lacking the strength and leverage. After several failed attempts, she once more required the assistance of the loadmaster, a man. He walked over, casually threw his weight into it, and slammed it shut.

This young lady literally could not generate the torque and leverage that the man could though he was no bastion of masculinity. She actually appeared to be in better shape. He was a middle-aged, slightly overweight, E-7 with a beer belly. Yet, he could generate the brute force that this young lady could not, and no matter how much she wanted to look like a man the instant brute force became necessary, her femininity became intensely obvious.

This is not to impugn this young lady. I maintain great respect for her service and the fact that she needed assistance is no issue. Certainly there are men who might require assistance with these mundane tasks. What I seek to highlight is that to ignore the distinction between men and women is a most foolish thing to do.

She was a butterfly and that fact was never more obvious than when she was required to do that which is expected of the rhino.

In this case, the inability to generate brute force did not prove decisive. However, I can think of numerous situations where this ability might just be the difference between life and death. Situations exist where the restraint of the Gospel ebbs, where the smoothing effects of civilization and society wane, where the ability to generate and respond to brute force and brutality might just be the difference between victory and defeat. I’m thinking specifically of combat, definitively ground combat.

The Obama administration opened all positions in the military to women despite the obvious folly of such an endeavor. A Marine Corps test of infantrymen versus integrated infantry proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that infantrywomen do not perform well as infantrymen. Go figure. We don’t need tests to demonstrate this. Anyone who has served, including most women, will attest that this is an endeavor fraught with peril that will ultimately cost lives.

Perhaps there might be a way we could honor our God-given sexuality and still have women serving alongside men. 

But first we’d have to acknowledge the foolishness of supposed gender-neutrality. That would ultimately require us to acknowledge the author of our sexuality, God. And therein lies the issue.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

I am a Veteran, I am Complicit in our National Debt

I’m going to out myself.

I am 44 years old. I take no prescription drugs. My blood pressure and labs are all normal though my bp inches toward the upper end of the normal spectrum every year.

I train four to five days a week—I’m an avid weightlifter and hater of all things cardio. My current lifts are all within range of my max’s from younger days. I’ve lost a step or two, carry around a few more pounds of blubber but in all, I would classify my health as excellent. Anecdotally, I can ball my 17-year-old son up like tissue paper.

I am set to receive roughly 70% disability from the government.

A Great and Growing Immorality

The total outlay for President Trump’s 2018 budget submission is $4.09 trillion. Let’s write that out for perspective—$4,090,000,000,000. Estimated 2018 government revenue is $3.66 trillion leaving a budget deficit of $440 billion to add to the $20.6 trillion national debt.

The national debt is a generational issue. Though Trump’s proposal will purportedly balance the budget by 2027, every President makes similar claims. Yet, the debt continues to grow, even as we’ve raked in record tax returns year after year.

Our collective spending habits may one day doom this nation.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expects to spend $57 billion on disability benefits next year. That’s up 25% from $46 billion this year, and nearly quadruple the $15 billion spent in 2000, before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.

And I’m angling to get my cut.

A Scandal

In 2007, The Washington Post published a series of articles outlining extreme cases of neglect at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC).

Administrative errors allowed an outpatient soldier to drink himself to death and two others, who should’ve been restricted, died in a high-speed car accident. A therapist’s error led to the death of another. There were preventable suicides, avoidable drug overdoses, and even murder.

The articles described WRAMC’s building 18 as a rat- and cockroach-infested dump, with stained carpets, cheap mattresses, and black mold. Soldiers reported no heat or water in the facility.

Within a week of the articles, Defense Secretary Gates visited Walter Reed and declared that those responsible would be held accountable. Shortly thereafter, he relieved the Commander, Major General George Weightman.

As a result, the nation poured resources and money into the Veteran’s Administration (VA). They held oversight hearings, installed new leadership, and rewrote the rulebook. Veteran’s issues became even more of a flash-point.

“Support the troops,” was the battle-cry. To be categorized as not “supporting the troops” was political suicide. “Where’s your yellow ribbon?” Legislation and ultimately, appropriations, reflected this slant.

Everyone jockeyed to get on the right side of this issue. The fallout would not be felt downwind for a while, but it would generate broad and lasting ramifications.

On the Street

As a positive, our nation cares for our veterans in an unprecedented fashion. Our veterans, those who’ve served honorably and those not so much, receive great support, often for life, as many of them should.

Increased MEDEVAC proficiency and new battlefield medical treatments flood our system with a never-before-seen number of wounded. Previously, many of today’s survivors would’ve perished at the scene. The system struggles to cope with the sheer volume: amputees, double amputees, quadriplegics, burns, not to mention the burgeoning PTSD population.

We should lavish care and resources upon our battlefield wounded. They have literally stood as sword and shield on behalf of a grateful nation and I would personally donate a chunk of my pay to their care.

It’s the other’s such as myself that lend cause for concern.

A Cut for Everyone 

Anecdotally, A PTSD diagnosis yields a 70% disability rating, automatically. The soldiers know it. Barracks lawyers coach up anyone willing, as to the correct answers to the test to yield a positive diagnosis.

My last unit’s psych, a civilian, was pretty good at weeding out the imposters. Yet, a shameless major at the hospital would readily overturn his diagnoses, common knowledge in the ranks. In frustration, I phoned this major and demanded an answer. He informed me that he had been at Walter Reed during the scandal and since then, has erred on the side of the soldier.

Consequently you, the taxpayer, fund ex-soldiers with questionable PTSD diagnoses for life. Ever heard of garrison PTSD? It exists.

Going through retirement, I’ve received a personal tour of an entire system geared toward inefficiency.

My Cut

I come from a long line of mouth-breathers. My father was a great mouth-breather. My brother. One of my daughters. As a young child, I vividly recall a family trip where my father’s incredible snoring had me clinging to the edge of the hotel bedroom whimpering in misery.

For years, I’ve denied my wife’s claims that I have sleep apnea. Last year, I finally went and got a sleep study done and sure enough, sleep apnea. A rotor-rooter nose surgery coupled with a spankin’ new CPAP machine has me sleeping like a baby, very effective treatment.

I’ll also obtain a minimum of 50% disability due to this.

Six years ago, I grabbed a monster rebound in a pick-up basketball game. My ACL rebelled by ripping in two, to go along with a battered-up meniscus. Two knee surgeries later and I no longer play basketball, limit my poundage on the squat rack, and now have a joint that definitively responds to the weather. Otherwise I get around fine.

This was not a service-related incident but I’m sure to receive a few percentage points for this as well.

I’ve got a few other dents and dings in the fender. What middle-aged man who leads an active life doesn’t. I’m sure that several years on airborne status don’t help, but 70% disability? It’s the system. I was coached, as is every single other retiree.

Mr. Smith, how long have you had ringing in your ears?”

“Well I don’t really…”

You’ve been in aviation for over twenty years and you don’t have ringing in your ears?!”

“Well, uh, no, not really…”

Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) yields 10% disability rating and is impossible to verify or refute. Stiffness in your neck? Those night-vision goggles sure must’ve been heavy. Sore back? Those ruck-sacks do take a toll. “Check your pride at the door,” a retiring friend advised me as I prepared for my VA physicals. “Let them walk you through it.”

Over twenty years ago, the government signed a promissory note guaranteeing me retirement pay should I serve a minimum of 20 years. I upheld my end of the bargain, so they should uphold theirs. I’m just a little uneasy with the accompanying disability. Perhaps you could reassure me a bit.

The Spirit of the Law

The intent is righteous, take care of our veterans and soldiers and again, please don’t hear me say that our wounded veterans and those who legitimately suffer with PTSD don’t need and deserve support. They do.

The issue is that the notion that each of us should get a piece of the pie, that the government ought to be in the business of taking care of us, this notion will inevitably dilute the resources that can be applied to those who do need it.

How long can our fiscally and morally bankrupt government fund so many otherwise able-bodied men? At some point, something must give.

As Jesse Owens was deciding which college to attend in the 1930’s, his coach offered him some poignant advice. In light of scholarship offers and other deals his coach gave him this.

You ought to pay your own way through.

And this is exactly what Jesse Owens did. Oh yeah, he still ran track full time and managed to defeat the Nazi great Luz Long in the 1936 Olympics, defying the Fuhrer. Our willing readiness, as men, to be cared for in some ways epitomizes a loss of this grit.

I am guilty as charged.

Now, send me my check, please.

 

 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

Brave Rifles: Sex in a Godless Army (part 1)

We simply cannot address the affliction of soldiers without addressing the penis and its proper usage, rather the implications of its improper use. We’ll address other afflictions wrought by pervasive godlessness, but sexuality rules the day. God made us as sexual beings. Sexuality permeates our very existence and as such, it must be accounted for.

Only a few dabble in a singular pervasive sin as afflictions imbricate and become indistinguishable one from another. Most of the afflicted suffer from a multitude of assaults upon their being which is to be expected.

A Godly Ethic

Like our nation, our soldiers are entirely confused about sexual ethics and what godliness in this arena looks like. Lines continue to blur and many descend truly into what would have been deemed utter insanity only 20 years ago. God clearly defines gender and sexuality leaving absolutely no room for vacillation.

The Bible records that the Pharisees confronted Jesus regarding divorce. His response addresses a number of issues.

          Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female…(Matthew 19:4)

Without hesitation, Jesus refers directly to the first decree in Genesis 1:27. God made them male and female—separate, different, not just good, but very good. (Genesis 1:31) Jesus goes on to reference Genesis once more saying,

          …Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. (Matthew 19:5)

It is a true statement that Jesus never expressly condemned homosexuality. He also never expressly condemned bestiality, or pedophilia, or incest. He did promote marriage between a man and a woman, as He condemned adultery, lust, and by inference, fornication. Jesus condemns any sexual activity outside of that between a man and a woman in the context of a biblical marriage. (Matthew 5) The rest of the Bible concurs. Only an extremely painful and distinctly dishonest exposition of Scripture will yield any conclusion other than this.

God made them male and female, separate.

They are different, distinct. This distinction is a good thing. God made them in His image, unique and with different passions and purposes. To the man, He gave the mandate to work, to have dominion over creation in the Garden, and to teach His wife what God had given directly to Him. God creates woman as man’s ‘helper’. (Genesis 2:20) Lest any think this a derogatory or diminishing term, consider that God frequently refers to Himself as man’s ‘helper’. (Ex. 18:4, Psalms 33:20, Psalms 70:5) Woman is to come alongside man and ‘help’ him in exercising dominion over creation.

God designates separate roles for the man and the woman. First, the man is to serve as the spiritual leader, to have authority over his wife and family. Immediately we begin to encroach upon contemporary thought patterns. The Bible speaks clearly on the matter. Nowhere does God direct the man to rule or dominate the woman, this is solely of the Curse. (Genesis 3:16) God does direct male leadership.

Many pull Ephesians 5:21 out of context when Paul speaks about believers “submitting to one another.” They propose a sort of mutual submission between the man and woman. However, this is a weak assertion tempered by fear of rejection and poor exegesis, clearly not the godly intent.

Paul does tell Christians to submit to one another, but then he goes on to explain what he means. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” (v.22) “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (v.6:1) “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters.” (v.6:5a) Paul says, everyone submit to one another and here is how:

  1. Wives submit to husbands,
  2. Children submit to parents, and
  3. Bondservants submit to masters.

Long ago, western society applied a derogatory connotation with the concept of submission. The Bible never quibbles. Nowhere does God call the husband to submit to his wife. The husband is the head of the household, indeed the head of his wife, “so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” (v.24)

Peter agrees, “wives, be subject to your own husbands.” (1 Pet. 3:1)

This straightforward biblical concept generates intense and immediate ire. Antiquated, masochistic, chauvinistic—the notion of male headship drives those who object into a veritable frenzy. They simply cannot believe that someone would advocate such a blatantly discriminatory and hateful belief. I understand how some might object without considering the full counsel of God’s word on the matter.

Consider the call given to the husband. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church.” (Ephesians 5:25) A husband is to love and honor his wife in the same way that Christ loves the church—to die for her, literally. In this context, the notion of mutual submission seems like a paltry concession for the sake of bristled sensibilities. Consider the power of husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church and wives submitting to husbands in a godly fashion.

Again, submission does not imply subjugation or lack of equality or worth. God calls all Christians to submit in some way. God calls all believers to submit to the government (Romans 13:1, 1 Peter 2) and to the leadership of the local church (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5). It is the wife that God calls to submit to the husband “as to the Lord”, not as if he is the Lord. Her ideas, thoughts, and beliefs possess merit; she is just under his headship.

God said that this is the best way. The curse from Genesis 3 opposed this godly pattern from the beginning. Resistance or outright refusal is merely symptomatic of this curse. God made them male and female, in His image, with different roles, but of equal value. This is the essence of biblical complementarianism, a foreign concept to the unchurched and increasingly, even to the churched, as popular unbiblical thought patterns continue to invade the body of Christ.

Marriage has the mission of procreation and discipleship.

The very first command given to the couple was “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) God commanded Adam to know his wife Eve in the strictest biblical sense of the word and to have children and to bring them up in the ways of the Lord. This is the way that God’s people were to spread across the entire earth, subduing it. The Fall did not negate this mandate. Repeatedly, Scripture confirms the primacy of teaching our children the ways of the Lord.

God calls us to make disciples, starting with our own children.

Here we see the unique role and ability of the woman to steward life, to give birth, and her unique bend toward nurturing. Secular culture minimizes this unique capacity to mother as women desperately seek to usurp what was not given to them in the first place. What an amazing thing, to mother, care for, and nurture life from its very conception. I stand in awe of this capacity as should any godly society, holding the desire to mother as a truly sacred desire.

Please do not hear me say that a woman cannot and should not work or pursue a profession. By all means, I merely proclaim the sacred call of motherhood and the disparate ordained roles for men and women.

Marriage has the mission of proclaiming the Gospel.

Most importantly, as I love my wife as Christ loved the church and she submits to me as to the Lord, we display the Gospel to a lost and dying world. A biblical marriage is a visual depiction of the Gospel. The Bible frequently refers to the Church as the Bride of Christ and its relationship with Jesus as a marriage.

Based upon these purposes, is it any wonder that Satan and the world have continuously sought to undermine the sanctity of marriage, driving a wedge between man and woman? They often rely upon factors from point number one in distorting and perverting godly roles to exacerbate the conflagration between the two sexes.

Our nation continuously drives further from the godly standard, taking our army with it. Like the populace, our soldiers possess intense confusion over issues of masculinity, femininity, and sexuality. This resonates in their actions and vast affliction.

Ignorance of, and practice outside of, the biblical sexual ethic generates intense personal struggle and pragmatically, weakens our force. 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

A Resolution for Men—Quit Doing Curls in the Squat Rack

If this is you, stop it. Just stop it!

You know who you are.

An old weight-lifting buddy of mine whom I had not spoken with in some time, messaged me out of the blue with an old but not unfamiliar lament. Some doofus was doing curls in the squat rack forcing him to wait as there was only one rack. He ran his options by me and though I don’t recall them exactly, at least two of them involved punching this man in the face.

I advised restraint, assuaging anger with a modicum of concealed scorn.

Man invented the squat rack to facilitate…the squat. The squat ranks as the most valuable and functional exercise. The human body is basically a giant hinge joint around the hips; no other exercise develops whole-body strength, power, and explosiveness like the squat. It’s also one of the most taxing exercises. A proper and deep squat demands commitment, courage even.

It’s bad for the knees—stop being a sissy.

I use the Smith machine—not quite the same.

I use the leg press sled instead. Watch me do 900lbs—please.

To clarify. I hate to squat, always have. I’m not a good squatter, but every Monday morning, the very first exercise I do is the squat. There is something oddly clarifying about placing a well-loaded bar across my back first thing Monday morning. After that, the rest of my week is a breeze.

And woe to you who dare to curl in the squat rack. As valuable and functional as the squat is, the curl ranks near the top of superfluous exercises, alongside donkey calf raises. “Curls for the girls!” If you feel led to curl, go right ahead, but you can curl anywhere. You could even, gasp, set your bar on the floor and pick it up to curl. Weight-lifters need the rack to squat.

Take your do-rag, weight belt, and weight-lifting gloves elsewhere, back to the 90’s if need be.

The squat rack was designed with a very specific function in mind.

A Fleeting Gift

A new year dawns, beckoning us to the future, the blessing of time. Some of you may not see another year. Some of you may not make it out of January. Each day, every hour, each breath is a gift, undeserved of our Creator.

The Psalmist reminds us of a sobering truth. “Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!” (Psalm 39:5)

As does Isaiah, “All flesh is grass…The grass withers, the flower fades.” (Isaiah 40:6,8)

I recently received a reminder of the fleeting nature of our days as I stood before my friends and family and retired after 22 years in the military. Twenty-two long years ago, I raised my right hand and swore to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Twenty-two years, a veritable lifetime. As I contemplate the naïve and brash young man, standing with his entire life ahead of him, I long to communicate to him, to exhort him to make the most of his days, to not spend them on idle and frivolous pursuits.

Twenty-two years in the blink of an eye.

Our time is perhaps our most precious asset, never redeemable, once spent, gone for eternity. What will you do with your time, that which remains? What will you do with this year before you?

I have resolved to no longer curl in the squat rack.

A Gift with Purpose

Paul exhorts the Ephesians,

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15)

Paul calls us to walk intentionally, deliberately, wisely, likening the Christian life to a walk. Earlier he tells them to “walk worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (4:1), to “no longer walk as Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.” (4:17)

Walk in a manner that redeems the time and is worthy of that to which you’ve been called. In other words, don’t waste your life in idle and vain pursuits. Don’t waste your life seeking fulfillment in that which will never fulfill.

Our time is the most precious and valuable of assets and as such, Paul calls us to “walk in love” (5:1) and to “walk as children of light” (5:8).

Only such a walk is worthy, wise, making the best use of our time. From the Westminster Catechism,

          “What is the chief end of man?”

          “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

God gives us life for a very specific purpose. Anything less than that is a life unrealized.

An Unredeemable Gift

And yet men seem determined to fill our lives with the mundane, the trivial. We continually invent new ways to spend our time, each seemingly more pointless than the last. My sons, if I allow them, will watch videos of people playing video games—not actually playing themselves, a pointless activity as it were—but watching other people. The existence of thousands of hours of such videos on the internet speaks to a demonic sap of our most precious resource, our time.

Do you walk worthy? Wisely? 

Why are the days evil? The days are evil because time, if left unspent, will spend itself. One day you’re gonna wake up and be forty, or fifty, or sixty, or older wondering where your days went. Where did they go? Some stunning queries confront the conscience in such a manner including perhaps the most vexing of inquiries,

          Did I matter?

Did I even matter at all? Had I never of existed, would anyone have cared? Would the world have been any different?

Death summons us continually, an unwavering procession to the grave. The second we’re put under the soil, the world will begin the process of forgetting all about us. Tell me, who was the richest or most popular man in your town thirty years ago? Twenty?

No man on his death bed proclaims,

          “If only I’d spent more time watching t.v.”, or

          “I wish I’d spent more time at the office,” or

          “If only I could’ve spent more time accumulating.”

No man says these things. How many men go to the grave ashamed and regretful of a life wasted, confronted with the tragedy of unredeemed time. This is why Paul so vigorously exhorts the Ephesians to make the most of the time, advising them that the days are evil.

Perhaps you’ll not change the world. God calls some men to such a task. But this I know, you could change the world for one, maybe a few. Could you change it for your wife, your children maybe, perhaps a fatherless child?

Men, the world needs us to engage, desperately. Our wives, our children, our nation needs us to engage, to lead. They need us to get up from in front of the television, turn off football, set down the video game controller and claim that which God intended, that we would lead, that we would love our wives as Christ loved the Church, that we would bring up our children it the ways of the Lord.

Hurry! You may not have much time…the day is drawing near even now.

As for me, I resolve to no longer tarry about in life, toying with the inconsequential and trite pursuits of feckless men. I’m determined to spend whatever time I have left on that which matters.

I resolve to no longer curl in the squat rack. 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

Brave Rifles: The Danger of a Godless Army

The Army’s in trouble, as is our nation.

As godlessness pervades, it consumes our Armed Forces with catastrophic consequences.

A Surface Morality

I’m not so naïve to think that there was ever a time whereby most soldiers confessed Christianity. Soldiers have always been a rough and rowdy crowd. My first 1SG chewed tobacco, cussed like a sailor, and drank beer every single night. However, he was a great 1SG and I remember him fondly. My first battalion commander was an absolute party animal who had an affinity for the juicy girls in the ‘Ville, yet he was a highly esteemed commander.

The barber shops in Korea used to be called the Steam and Cream for a very specific reason as they offered, overtly, a specific extra service for a small fee. This happened on base! The Officer’s Club at Fort Campbell used to have actual strippers…on base! Rampant drunkenness used to accompany just about every Army social function. Sin was rampant, overt, tolerated and even celebrated.

None of this behavior is tolerated today. The strippers are gone, the clubs shut down, and prostitutes forced underground. Unit functions are now much more likely to include family-friendly events, games and such, rather than alcohol.

Considering the moral rightness of these moves, how do we reconcile this with any claim of increasing godlessness? Would not the fact that overt sin such as this is no longer tolerated drive us toward the opposing conclusion?

Godless Nation, Godless Army

The military traditionally imitates American values, composition, and culture though it maintains a decidedly conservative slant. As society goes, so goes our military.

Spiritually speaking, America is but a shadow of its former self. Though most Americans still claim to be Christians, our behavior betrays us.

America is a post-Christian nation.

A 2014 study yielded un-shocking truths:

– The number of unchurched people in America would constitute the 8th largest country in the world (156 million).

– In the past decade, more Americans have become churchless than the total population of Canada and Australia.

– The majority of the unchurched have attended church previously and could be more accurately labeled as de-churched though the number of actual unchurched people, those who have never attended church, is on the rise.

– The majority of the churchless in America claim Christianity as their faith.

To clarify, church attendance does not make a Christian. Yet, the Bible stipulates church attendance for the believer, fellowship with other believers, and it is a good indicator of spirituality and spiritual growth. The Bible knows nothing of a Christian faith lived in isolation from other believers, from the Church, the body of Christ.

Americans claim, “I’m a Christian, I just don’t attend church,” or “I’m spiritual, I do church on my own.” Jesus would have no idea what they are talking about.

Most of America is de-churched. Maybe they were raised in church or grew up attending church. At some point, they walked away. Growing in number are the true unchurched, those who have never attended. A newer group that stands to shape America further is the second generation unchurched, those raise by unchurched parents or guardians. The number of second-generation unchurched will inevitably outpace the other groups.

Why does it matter? Let’s discuss the common grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The grace of God blesses all men in some fashion. (Matthew 5:45b) The proliferation of the Gospel restrains sin. Wherever Christ is preached, things are just better.

Thus, as the Gospel is suppressed by the de-churching of America, things will progressively trend downward. The restraint on sin will diminish and the wickedness of men will flourish.

The de-churching of America generates another symptom, particularly as second generation unchurched people grow to adulthood. Biblical literacy declines yearly. Previously, though one may not have been of Christ, they spoke the language, having been raised in church. When you spoke of sin and repentance, they knew the language you were speaking.

Today, biblical concepts such as these are not in people’s vocabulary, not a part of the vernacular.

     “Sin? What is that?”

     “What is repentance? Repent from what?”

     “Doesn’t God love me for who I am?”

Sharing the Gospel message has changed. A different paradigm confronts the evangelizing Christian. We must account for the new context, and the younger a person the more likely he or she is illiterate in the basic aspects of Christianity.

And this is our Army. Our Army is a representative organization primarily composed of young 18 to 24-year-old men, the clear majority of whom are at a minimum de-churched, with a growing number being unchurched or even second generation unchurched. This is our Army and the darkness runs deep, just as it does in our nation.

A Snapshot

On September 1, 2015, the 39th Chief of Staff of the Army, General Mark A. Milley dispatched a message to the Army saying, “We have the most skilled, ethical, and combat hardened Army in our Nation’s history.” 

Is this entirely true, I wondered? Is our Army the most ethical in our Nation’s history?

As of the publication of General Milley’s message, I had 19 soldiers in my brigade under investigation for rape or sexual assault: rape of a friend, rape of a child, rape of their own child, even rape of their own special needs child. We were in the process of breaking up a marijuana ring in one battalion. We’d just had our second suicide in a span of a few months. Both soldiers hung themselves with their belts in their barracks room. Just a few months prior to General Milley’s announcement, I had nine domestic violence cases in one month.

Handling these issues consumed us. We formed two separate committees whose sole purpose was to handle the affliction of our soldiers, as we desperately sought to keep them from self-destructing. Soldiers spent so much time at the local mental health facility that the military health care system began cutting them off, something I’d never seen before.

This is the most ethical our Army has ever been? Now, as my scope of purview has increased, perhaps that has colored my conclusions, but I just don’t remember any of this from my younger days.

To deal with this glut of affliction, the Army leans on company commanders and 1SG’s. General Milley’s number one priority was readiness. Could we marshal our forces and deploy them to combat?

Soldier affliction due to the increased godlessness of the force and the corresponding increase in rampantly sinful behavior works directly against this objective. Commanders and 1SG’s find themselves caught in the middle, straddling priorities.

Army Regulation 350-1 defines training requirements. Many are obvious: Army Warrior Training, marksmanship, physical readiness. An army should be doing these things. Others are equally as important, but not as obvious: Anti-terrorism training, Operational Security, Law of War, Personnel Recover, Information Assurance.

Still others exist solely as a secular response to the rampant sin in the force: Alcohol Substance Abuse Prevention, Suicide Prevention, Combating Human Trafficking, Equal Opportunity, Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Prevention (SHARP), Resiliency Training (though not stipulated at DA level, resiliency training is a mandatory monthly event).

Consider that we hold classes to teach soldiers not to rape people!

Not only must commanders deal with the sin of the force in handling the immense number of personal issues generated by sinful behavior, they must also train the entire force as a response and in an attempt to prevent this same sinful behavior. Somewhere in there, they must find time to accomplish the mission essential training to prepare the unit for combat.

A 2002 War College study determined that all mandatory training would require 297 training days in a year. Regrettably, each year contains only 256 training days. Due to these factors, combat-focused training often takes a back seat to administration and dealing with soldiers affliction.

Maybe my last commander was correct in ascertaining that United States is set for a fall, capable indeed of losing its next war.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

Brave Rifles: The Problem of a Godless Army

I love God. I love the Army. The collusion of these two drove me to write Brave Rifles.

But something is wrong…

A View from the Front

In 2013, the Army sent me to my first ever divisional assignment and to say that it opened my eyes was a mild euphemism. I cherished my three years in the unit, though I never expected to encounter the affliction that has become so unfortunately common.

But, I loved it. I loved the soldiers, earnest young men and women, many of whom truly wanted to make a difference in this world. It wasn’t lost on me that nearly all of them enlisted after September 11th knowing that a deployment to combat was likely imminent at some point. I loved the NCO’s, a magnificent group of seasoned and respected sergeants who served as the glue that held things together when they seemed likely to fall apart. I loved the officers, a group of committed young patriots—bright, energetic, and motivated. The lieutenants and captains are light-years ahead of where I was at a similar point in my career.

Yet, something was wrong. I could tell from the beginning, but could not diagnose the issue. I observed and watched. As a Battalion Commander and then the rear detachment Brigade Commander of over 3,000 soldiers, I had a front-row seat to the action. And as I observed, I deliberated. Something was amiss, but I could not quite fathom what. Lots of symptoms, but what was the source?

Walking around, you would never know something was wrong. Soldiers looked just about the same as they always looked. Our Brigade performed magnificently in combat, yet two things consistently captured my attention: the sheer breadth of affliction within the ranks and the yeoman’s efforts of commanders and 1SG’s in addressing the affliction. 

The Standard

The Army has always prided itself on being a values-based organization, insisting upon integrity at all levels. We drill the Army Values of,

– Loyalty
– Duty
– Respect
– Selfless Service
– Honor
– Integrity
– Personal Courage

into the heads of new soldiers from the first day of basic training. The Army Values are good, all necessary to build trust, an essential component in combat and to a self-professed values-based organization. Interestingly, the Army Values could have been lifted straight from the pages of Scripture. Were I to biblically expound the attributes of a soldier, they would probably look a lot like the Army Values.

Further, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) supports the ethos of the Army, reinforcing that which the Army declared important. Thus, things that may not be an issue in the civilian world will quickly have you running afoul of Army leadership. As an example, the Army maintains, for now anyway, a well-defined sexual ethic. Adultery violates the UCMJ. Now, it’s exceedingly difficult to prove adultery, as a commander literally needs a confession, a positive blood test on a child, or some other ‘proof’ of the act. Yet, it is against the UCMJ and soldiers may be punished if found guilty of committing adultery.

Again, this and other aspects of the UCMJ could have been lifted straight from the pages of the Bible. The Army Values, the Warrior Ethos, the UCMJ: these all serve as a rudder, guarding the hearts and actions of soldiers and serving as the anchor for the entire organization. Against this backdrop, I’ve labored over company commanders, 1SG’s, and the impossible tasks the Army demands of them. 

The Problem

We had a senior Army leader visit the installation, and as a Brigade-level leader I was privileged to attend a forum with him and the other commanders. He remarked that every commander and 1SG on every installation that he visited remarked that the Army required way more of them than there was time to do. An issue as long as I’ve been in the Army, the literal requirements placed upon company level leadership greatly outpaced their capacity (time) to complete these requirements.

Wong and Gerras from the War College drew upon some of this analysis as for years, the Army reported ‘all complete’ on extraneous requirements out of one side of its mouth yet with the other, complained that there was not enough time in the day to accomplish all of the necessary tasks. Well, which was it?

This particular senior leader believed the issue to be one of prioritization. The commanders should prioritize their requirements, obtain buy-in from their leadership, and then execute what they are able. Allow their senior leaders to provide top-cover on requirements deemed untenable or unnecessary based upon time and resources available.

This may brief well, but I wondered to myself if this would work. I never did such a thing as a company commander. As a battalion commander, none of my company commanders had done such a thing. As a rear detachment brigade commander, none of my battalion commanders had come forward in such a fashion. Every unit I’ve been a part of reported ‘all complete’ when it was just never feasible to have completed but a fraction of the required tasks.

In assessing this senior leader’s remarks, I determined that most company commanders probably don’t have time for that level of assessment. Company commanders exist on the front lines of leadership, literally where the rubber meets the road. To take time to make a comparable assessment is not feasible for most. Perhaps it should have been the higher headquarters that made this type of assessment. Besides, most things seemed like a priority. How would you prioritize when your headquarters deemed numerous competing demands as priorities?

I had a company commander sleeping at the CQ desk for several nights in a row keeping watch over an imminently suicidal soldier. I had a company commander spend several sequential days dealing with a love triangle in the motor pool. I had a company commander make so many trips to the local mental health facility where we sent struggling soldiers that he became known by name.

These are all good things in that commanders get paid to take care of soldiers and concern themselves with their well-being. On the other hand, we also pay commanders to accomplish the mission, to close with and destroy the enemy, to fight and win our nation’s wars, and every hour, every day, every week spent dealing with the litany of soldier issues is time NOT spent preparing their units for the rigors of combat. Here is the issue.

The Army standard is clearly a godly standard, whether intentional or not, though I believe it to be intentional. The Army, as it reflects the composition of our society writ large, is clearly and increasingly a godless organization. The primary challenge facing leaders in the modern Army of the United States is this,

motivating godly behavior from the godless, apart from God.

Herein lies the crux of the leadership challenge with which the Army wrestles. Allow me to explain. The challenge is, motivating godly behavior (compliance with UCMJ and internalization of the Army Values and Warrior Ethos) from the godless (majority of soldiers), apart from God (in an environment hostile to the intentional proliferation of the Gospel).

My previous commander, one of the greatest combat leaders I’ve ever had the privilege of serving under, remains convinced that the United States is poised for a fall and that we will lose our next war. I am not sure if I concur. However, virtually every issue the leaders of our Army grapple with stems from the impossibility of the above paradigm. One can only coax a certain measure of godliness from the godless. Failure is inevitable in this regard.

Frankly, the issue is sin running in opposition to values and codes which generates all manner of personal affliction in the lives of soldiers.

Sin necessitates mandatory training in an attempt to handle the issue from a secular standing.

The resonate sin in our force, not under the conviction of the Holy Spirit or increasingly not even under the common grace of the proliferation of the Gospel, consumes our force and its leaders, diverting them from the most important of tasks—preparing our forces to confront the evil of this world.

We must come to terms with this while we can. We don’t have much time.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

Lauer, Cosby, Clinton—a Proper Response

Hardly a week passes that someone’s champion doesn’t fall.

Hardly a week goes by that a well-known man won’t keep his hands to himself, his zipper firmly secured in the up position.

The higher profile the better. The more firmly entrenched in a definitive camp—liberal, conservative, Christian, entertainment—the better, the more appealing as a juicy target for his adversaries.

Matt Lauer was the latest casualty, if we can call a man who commits sexual harassment a victim. Reports surfaced Wednesday of a pattern of misconduct. He presented a colleague with a sex toy including a note detailing how he’d like to use it on her. He summoned another female colleague to his office and dropped his pants exposing himself at which point, he reprimanded her for not acting. He led an office game of “f___, kill, or marry.” Surprising behavior from NBC’s crown jewel who commanded a $25 million annual salary. NBC immediately dismissed the star.

Ironically, last September, Lauer grilled disgraced and fired Fox News host, Bill O’Reilly over his sexual misconduct. “You were the guy that the ratings and the revenue was built on,” said Lauer. “Doesn’t it seem safe to assume that the people at Fox News were given some evidence that simply made it impossible for you to stay on at Fox News?”

They are not alone. More than 50 women have made accusations against Bill Cosby, that bastion of familial paternity. Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are the most recent culprits from the entertainment industry. Politics seems a particularly fertile breeding ground for this sort of debauchery. Former President Clinton was/is a notorious philanderer. Disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in prison for sexting with a minor. Several women accused even former President George H.W. Bush, at 93, of inappropriate contact.

Despite our nation’s earnest efforts to curb it, improper use or intended improper use of the penis is more a problem now than ever.

Collectively, we ought to thoroughly investigate every allegation. The culprit, if proven guilty in a court of law vice the court of public opinion, ought to receive justice. The accuser, if proven false, ought to receive a measure of justice.

These incidents lead us to draw two very necessary conclusions.

1. All Men Are Fallible

At the Command and General Staff College years ago, a classroom discussion turned to General Petraeus. At the time, he had commanded Fort Leavenworth, rewritten the Army’s counterinsurgency doctrine, and been assigned the unenviable task of righting the ship in Iraq. No mean feat, but he pulled it off. His star continued its ascent.

Several of my classmates had worked for him, and they exhorted his work ethic and his brilliance. “Where is the chink in this guy’s armor?” our instructor asked.

Enter Paula Broadwell.

Petraeus succumbed to a common temptation, an extra-marital affair. As his dalliance with his biographer became public, he resigned in disgrace. Her career was ruined. I know he was a general, but why did no one ever approach this man about spending so much time with a pretty, younger woman who was not his wife?

In all of this, we must be reminded of a fundamental truth, the fallibility of man.

All men are capable of sin, great sin, and all men, at some point, have a tendency or a propensity to sin. (Romans 3:10, 23) For many men, that tendency manifests itself in the desire to misuse the penis.

 “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” Psalm 146:3.

In Christ alone do we find salvation. In Christ alone do we find one worthy of our worship, worthy of being exalted. Instead, we elevate men, generate heroes and idols. Certainly, men exist worthy of honor and praise, worthy of being esteemed. I know many. Yet, when honor becomes worship, we’ve neglected the fallibility of man.

The unfortunate recipe combines fallibility with power, influence, and wealth. As many have a propensity to sin sexually and then are presented with numerous opportunities to satiate their lusts, why wouldn’t many fall? In military circles, the common and accurate statement is that leaders fall due to zipper, bottle, or money issues. My observations and experience have repeatedly affirmed the truth of this.

Only Christ fully mitigates this fallibility. The redeemed believer is equipped by the indwelling Holy Spirit, empowered to live a life of purity and holiness. Further, the proliferation of the common grace of the Gospel restrains even the unbelieving heart. Jesus was and is the greatest advocate for women ever and where Christ is preached, women are more cherished, protected, and honored.

Combine fallibility with power, influence, and wealth…add rampant godlessness and yet I ask again, why wouldn’t men fall in this regard?

2. I Am A Fallible Man

In the sixteenth century, John Bradford observed a group of prisoners being marched to the gallows. “There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.” Aside from his reference to himself in the third person, his intent is to express humility, that only God’s sovereign hand could place him where he is. Were it not for God’s sovereign hand, he could just as easily be marching to the gallows.

His statement is a loose paraphrase of Paul, “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” (1 Corinthians 15:10) It is the sovereign hand of God that shapes and molds me into what I am, not any intrinsic merit of my own. Apart from the grace of God, I am nothing but a miserable wretch.

Paul expresses the outworking of this mindset in the same letter. “Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you.”

Such were some of you.

Maybe me.

Apart from the grace of God, the unmerited grace of God, I would still dwell in my sin.

When we scoff at Matt Lauer, when we rejoice at O’Reilly, or Weinstein, or Spacey and their predicaments, we forget that such were some of us, perhaps even you or me, apart from the grace of God.

We ought to condemn the sin, mourn it certainly, but refrain from any kind of haughtiness. Well I would never do this, that, and the other. Given the right circumstances, the right opportunity, the right exaltation, I think you would be surprised with what any man might be capable. Do you think Lauer ever thought it’d come to this?

Never mind that many men wallow in a litany of disparate sins, maybe just not sexual. How many gluttonous men scoff at the sexual fall of others? How many greedy men scoff at the sexual fall of others? How many idolatrous men jeer at their plight?

When you think that you have it licked, when you believe that you have a handle on your own sin, you walk in grave danger. We may never let complacency rule our conscience. We must never let our guard down or think that our willpower is sufficient. We must pursue Christ as He conforms us to His image, for His purposes. This is the proper response.

In response to the sins of so many, I am thus reminded that all men are fallible. In their weakness, I am reminded of my own. I am as fallible as they.

May this truth guide our hearts.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

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