Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Sarah McLachlan is one of my favorite artists. This song was one of those I felt she was talking to me. If you have ever failed, and Lord knows I have done that in an almost nuclear proportion, this may be a voice calling in the wilderness of your life. I have had many failures in my life. 

The line that keeps going through my mind is, 
"We believed that we could change ourselves the past could be undone, but we carry on our backs the burden time always reveals. In the lonely light of morning, in the wound that would not heal. The bitter taste of losing everything that I've held so dear" 

For me it was I came from an extremely dysfunctional family. My Mother left my Father when I was six weeks old and I was raised by his sister who had been widowed during WWII. In fact, "Babe", finally told me when I was ten that she was actually my aunt. (I always wondered why my Mom & Dad were brother and sister - I didn't grow up on the set of "Deliverance".) My Father was a merchant marine and was gone most of the time I grew up. Where the major dysfunction came into play was that everyone in my family was an alcoholic. My Father, when he came home was physically and sexually abusive to me. I can remember being awoken to him beating me with a belt or his fists and then pleasuring himself at my expense. He was always a very angry man. With Babe, she was usually passed out by the time I got home from school. I would find something to eat and watch TV until the channels signed off. I did hear on some late show this English guy saying that people should read the "Classics", so when the Bookmobile came around I told the travelling librarian I wanted to read them and she started feeding me books. I started then and have read about a book a week since I started. 

When the "white flight" occurred in our area of Richmond, our family did not have a ticket to move to the suburbs. So, I grew up as a white kid in an African American area. I did learn to love and appreciate that culture and I also learned how to fight pretty well. It seemed there was always someone wanting to see if I made a wrong turn somewhere and wound up in the wrong neighborhood. This led my life into gangs and a great deal of time interacting with law enforcement. Then at seventeen I became a Christian and was told that everything in my past was forgiven and forgotten.

I went on to become a minister after studying Bible at Abilene Christian University and eventually a Master's from GTU in Berkeley. I had all of the answers to questions nobody asked and became a spiritual leader. Then that line in Sarah's song came back that I believed the past could be undone. Needless to say, after failing in ministry and the end of my second marriage - In the lonely light of morning in the wound that would not heal - I lost my business, wife and two children. I had become a successful business person and now was in a small apartment and in the midst of bankruptcy. Somehow I thought I had overcome the wounds, yet I carried on my back the burden time will always revel.

I was alone. I had no money. None of my friends were around. So I crawled into a cave. I started drinking and would drink until I passed out every night, except on weekends when my kids would visit (I refused to give my kids what I got from my Father). I remember wishing someone would call, but I hadn't made that easy for anyone. I felt a great deal of resentment against people I had helped in my business and soon realized that it was just part of the whole masquerade that I had somehow become this successful and popular person.

Then I met Josephine. She had never heard of me, she had no idea I had been this big shot. She just slowly pulled me from my cave and inspired me to start over again. She was everything I was not. Josephine is a free spirit and I am not. She is spontaneous and I am boring. Above all she is the most compassionate person I have ever met. We have been married for sixteen years and I love her more today than when we first met. She encouraged me to start a new career, to seek out old friends and most importantly - not to give up on God. My kids Sarah and Nathan are the light of my life and I am so happy they love me. Every night I text them a silly picture to let them know I am thinking of them and that I love them.

Now why am I writing this? Well, to let you know I do not know all of the answers to life. In fact, I seem to have more questions about life than  I did forty years ago. However, I also know what it is like to lose everything. As I said in a previous blog about the Road We Walk, it is a one way journey. Whatever place you find yourself - you need to keep moving forward. You need to find your North Star and NEVER lose sight of it. In the midst of the pain and the desire not to see or talk to anyone, you have to force yourself to reach out. Facebook has been a great place to at least communicate with people from my past. Some of them I have helped and others I have hurt and let down. Refreshingly, I have found acceptance from both groups. 

Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation that is so awful we see no way out. All of those people who I thought didn't care - some were trying to find me, I just had a very deep cave. Ask for help. Find someone or a group of people you can trust. You are not alone. In all of this I can say God did not abandon me, I walked away from Him. Don't wallow in self pity there is no perfect life, just life itself. When I was a kid I would watch "Ozzie and Harriett", "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best" - then I would sit and wonder if that was what the "real" world was like -- it isn't. The world is messed up and people are messed up.

You are not alone in this struggle. I hope my words have helped at least someone who can see there is a way out of the darkness.


Friday, May 18, 2012


It has been one year to the day of, my ex-wife, Angela's passing. One year ago I was sitting across the bed from Curtis, Angela's husband. We were both holding one of her hands as she passed away from this world. Angela gave a valiant fight against an unstoppable foe - ALS. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or "Lou Gehrig's Disease" it takes no prisoners

If there ever was a disease to cause me to doubt my faith in God, it would be ALS. With the brain fully functioning, your body starts to fail one part at a grueling time. You can no longer talk, walk, swallow, use your hands and breathing becomes more of a problem. What you can look forward to is to suffocate in your own fluids and mucous. All the time with a fully functional brain, knowing exactly what is happening.

While Curtis and I were there at the house, Sarah and Nathan had gone to a cafe. (I asked them to do that so they wouldn't have to watch their Mom pass away. They left when she fell asleep.) After that draining experience, I had to drive over to meet Sarah and Nathan -- I had no idea what I was going to say.

Sarah was 23 and Nathan was 18, their Mom was dead and the remnant of our family is small. Over the past year I have watched how each one has grieved. Sarah was very expressive in her grief and to this day has a vacancy in her heart. Nathan expressed his grief in stoicism and an impenetrable wall of silence. They, like all of us, handle these things differently  and each has the same amount of hurt and pain. I have done my best to let them both know they are valued and loved.

Angela would be very proud of how they have each grown into young adults. Sarah, now 24, lives in Oregon and is currently studying nursing with an eye toward Naturopathic Medicine. Music is her true love and I believe her cathartic release. She has grown into a warm, compassionate, intelligent beautiful woman.

Nathan, will be 20 in June, he inherited my twisted sense of humor. He just finished his first year at UNR, studying Psychology. He is a bookworm and loves StarCraft and Diablo 3. He is also gifted musically and often is up late at night writing music on his computer. He is  bright and has a wonderful sense of humor.

Both Sarah and Nathan have turned out well. This is a tough time for them and they could use your prayers.

So now after a year, I pause to reflect on how Angela's passing has affected me.
  • It was an ugly divorce with fault on each side, yet, in spite of all of the pain we caused each other - forgiveness felt much better than the hate.
  • Sarah and Nathan, seeing that Angela and I could forgive each other was a good thing to see.
  • Curtis' and Josephine's understanding and inner strength was good to see. As the current spouses neither were threatened by the fact that Angela and I no longer clung to anger.
  • Shortly after Angela's death I started writing this blog to express a great deal of feelings I had buried much too long.
  • 2011 was a horrible year. Shortly after Angela's passing Josephine went to Ireland to experience the loss of multiple uncles her Dad and her Sister.

The song below was played at Angela's Memorial Service. The words express, better than I can, how I feel and I am sure Angela is feeling right now.


Friday, May 11, 2012


~This is one of my favorite songs and this rendition
by Celtic Women is beautiful~

There are times in all of our lives that we feel as though we have hit the bottom. We seem to languish in depression and self-doubt - we cannot. for the life of us, see hope. Then the ephiney hits us and we realize the bottom is just the path back to the top. God sends people into our lives that seem to have just the right words or maybe that hug at just the right time. The phone rings and a voice you haven't heard in ages calls with encouragement.
Encourager-barnabas In Acts 4 we are introduced to a man named Joseph, whom the Apostles nicknamed "Barnabas" -- Son of Encouragement. Of the many biblical characters I would love to spend time with, my choice is Barnabas. Imagine being a person who was known for his encouragement. He wasn't know for riches, power, fame or anything we consider great in our culture -- HE WAS A SOURCE OF ENCOURAGEMENT. If I have a tombstone, I would like to see those words written on it.

As a person who has touched the bottom of life, I can tell you there are a set of stairs down there, heading up. I hope you can find a person in your time of need who will raise you up. More importantly, I pray that you can be a source of encouragement to those around you. To see the potential that God has placed in all of His children. In short, to see people as Jesus did. I have often said that the Judgmnet will not consist of a quiz to see if you held the right dogma or to check your church attendance time-card. I really believe many will hear, "You have my Son's eyes. You saw in each person you encountered the image of God." 

We are living in tough times. The need for people who can offer a word of encouragement has never been higher. I would simply encourage you to step back from the daily stress in your life and be a source of encouragement. There are a great deal of people who are hurting around you. Many have lost their jobs, houses or a loved one to extreme sickness or death. Activley seek out people around you to encourage.

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was a senior in High School. This was one of my favorite songs and as I hear it again I can say -- it still is. Listen to these words and see if you can live them.

Pray that God can lead you to those you can encourage.

Monday, May 7, 2012


I thought I would assemble some quotes from Christian thinkers that can help facilitate a discussion of Postmodernism at - http://allachner.com/forum .

"Because we are commanded by God to form and reform culture, Christians have to be actively engaged with culture: studying it, discerning positive and negative aspects, and working to redeem it. We are to be in the world but not of it, working to restrain evil and advance redemptive potentials. We are called to be salt in the world, working to enrich culture and preserve life-affirming aspects. We are also called to be a light to show the way for cultural development, uncovering and disentangling forces for good and evil, and redirecting unhealthy or destructive patterns toward principles in line with loving god and serving our neighbor. And the culture we are called to form and reform, to move toward redemption, includes even popular culture."  William Romanowski

"Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting."  Francis Schaeffer

"Traditional Christian teaching has been otherworldly in its emphasis. It has had more to say about how to accept failure than about how to succeed, more about suffering than about action. Theology has been the preserve of those who minister as priests and pastors to the inner spiritual life of their people. Consequently, when theologians whose whole work is in this pastoral ministry try to speak about matters of politics and economics, their words do not carry weight."   Lesslie Newbigin

In 1968 Francis Schaffer wrote these words. They are strangely prophetic:
The God Who Is There
"Men are facing a society without structure and they want to fill the void that has appeared. For a long time Reformation ideas formed the basis of North European culture, and this extended to include that of America and English-speaking Canada, etc. But today that has been destroyed by the relativism both inside [82] and outside the churches. Hence historic Christianity is now a minority group....

      "Society cannot function without form and motivation. As the old sociological forms have been swept away, new ones must be found or society breaks down altogether. Sir Julian Huxley has stepped in at this point with his suggestion that religion has a real place in modern society. But, he would contend, it must be understood that religion is always evolving and that it needs to come under the control of society.
      "This suggestion is not as ridiculous as it sounds, even coming from a convinced humanist, if one understands the mentality of our age. The prevailing dialectical methodology fits itself easily into religious forms....
     "Teilhard de Chardin... illustrates that the progressive Roman Catholic theologians are further away from historic Reformation Christianity than classical Roman Catholicism, because they are also dialectical thinkers.
     "The orthodox Roman Catholic would tell me that I am bound for hell because I reject the true Church. He is dealing with a concept of absolute truth. But the new Roman Catholic who sits at my fireside says, ‘You are all right, Dr. Schaeffer, because you are so sincere.’ In the new Roman Catholicism such a statement usually means that the dialectical method has taken over.
Therefore we are not surprised to find that ... others such as Hans KUng have been strongly influenced by neo-orthodoxy. It is important to note that the position on Scripture by the Vatican Council has shifted in the same-direction and men such as Raymond Panikkar, Dom Bede Griffiths [close friend of C. S. Lewis]... are proclaiming a synthesis between Roman Catholicism and Hinduism." 83
"The time, therefore, does seem right for this new theology to give the needed sociological forms and motivations. It is true, of course, that society could look elsewhere amongst the secular mysticisms for a new evolving religion, but the new theology has some strong advantages.
      "Firstly, the undefined connotation words that they are using are deeply rooted in our Western culture. This is much easier and more powerful than using new and untraditional words.
      "Secondly, these men control almost every large denomination in Protestantism.... This gives them the advantage of functioning within the organisational stream of the Church, and thus both its organisation and linguistic continuity is at their disposal.
      "Thirdly, people in our culture in general are already in process of being accustomed to accept non-defined, contentless religious words and symbols, without any rational or historical control. Such words and symbols are ready to be filled with the content of the moment. The words ‘Jesus’ or ‘Christ’ are the most ready for the manipulator. The phrase ‘Jesus Christ’ has become a contentless banner which can be carried in any direction for sociological purposes.

      "...because the phrase ‘Jesus Christ’ has been separated from true history and the content of Scripture, it can be used to trigger religiously motivated sociological actions directly contrary to the teaching of Christ.... It is against such manipulated semantic mysticism that we do very well to prepare ourselves, our children and our spiritual children." 84

Sunday, May 6, 2012


How was that title for a mouthful? During this week, I am planning on taking some small bites out of our current worldview. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of postmodernism - you are not alone. I would like to take a look at it from a Christian perspective. I will have a couple of videos below that can help set the stage.

This is a great deal to absorb, but it is where our culture currently resides. This could be a good time to take a deeper look. I will hopefully have some discussions with you at http://allachner.com/forum


Thursday, May 3, 2012


I have been having a wonderful week here at Pepperdine University in Malibu. As you can see from the picture below, I couldn't have chosen a prettier place to recharge my internal batteries.



I just came out of a class taught by Mike Cope, he has a refreshing mind and I am relishing each moment here. Enjoy Mike



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Help in Time of Need

I will be hanging out at Pepperdine University this week. My blog will be back this weekend.