Thursday, December 27, 2012

Xmas In Vietnam

In Vietnam, the saddest time of all were the holidays, being away from families, thinking about all the holiday activities back home. When we were back home, we might have thought the holiday season and all that comes with it was an enormous hassle; but in Vietnam, we would never admit such blasphemy.

40 plus years later, those Vietnam memories are cherished ones. I remember one very traumatic Christmas in Nam which made all of us sad and mad. The helicopter bringing the Christmas mail in a sling--a type of contraption that literally was swinging under the helicopter--hit some turbulence and the the mail was dropped. Help! Before the soldiers could get to the mail, the Vietnamese had gotten it and were nowhere to be found. Could have been the enemy, but more than likely, the friendlies, local villagers. Regardless, it was very tough to have our mail stolen at Christmas and had the troops been able to get to the ville another MyLai insanity would have been in the offing. More likely than not, the villagers innocently took our mail because it was a target of opportunity, goodies to sell on the black market.

Usually in Nam, there was a stand down, meaning that suddenly the fighting stopped. This always sounded a little crazy to me to stop the war for Christmas. If you can stop a war for Christmas, why don't you just stop

I also remember one very sad casualty during a Christmas stand down. Our FO, forward observer, stepped on a booby trap and was killed. Very sad. He was such a great guy and had a super sense of humor. Tall and handsome, 22, a graduate of St. Bonaventure University. Talk about a wasted life. As poet, Phil Woodall, says, "He may have died in vain, but he lived in honor."

This is such a difficult time for soldiers and their families. Soldiers are still in harm's way in Afghanistan. They, like in Vietnam, are in a misbegotten war.

We now celebrate the One who is the Prince of Peace, a difficult thing to think about during this time; we might use Jesus' words of peace--"peace, peace but there is no peace."

We have to see the bigger picture of Christmas, I believe: the realization that God can and does break through all the turmoil of our world. There is an enormous sadness that envelops those of us who care because of the unthinkable tragedy at Sandy Hook School in New Town, Connecticut. We can't put it down. The loss is too great. The grief is overpowering.

American soldiers who had their lives taken and the Sandy Hook youngsters and adults who had their lives "taken" are alike in this, "they may have died in vain but they lived in honor." And, for me, soldiers who died and the Sandy Hook victims will continue to live in my heart forever.


I still miss my good friend Sharon who transitioned from this life to the next a month or so ago. Early one morning, my iPhone flashed on and it was a message from Sharon. No, not really, (would have surely liked it), but from her husband, the greatest guy, wishing us a Merry Christmas. He was using her phone. A nice surprise. I have been trying to coordinate with Sharon's doc a little get together to kind of come to "closure"--Yeah I know, closure is a misnomer, whoever comes to real closer in the loss of a love one, especially someone who goes before their time. Surely no one I know.

Anyway, the doc hasn't responded which is not a big deal but it did get me to thinking. Sharon's doc is really great but she gets way too much stuff going and she can't do it all. Long story but the example to me and this isn't a hit on her, (after all, the chaplain is a professional too), just fact. If we ever think that we are more than a "file" to professionals usually, we might as well be whistling Dixie. Not so, they are doing their job. When we see a lawyer, the minister or Priest or doc, we are in their "sights" but when it is over, they go on to their next patient/client. And, this is good I think. Life goes on even we don't in the loss of our friend. Next case. God bless us all.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Out of curiosity I “googled” the approximate number of churches/congregations in the US….460,000…Somewhere b/w 3500 and 4500 close their doors per yr.

How many homeless: 760,000..

The churches could begin with solving the homeless problem……Less than two per church. Dave

Dave, this is good thinking. How to bring this about is the issue. Plus, so complicated. If I were a pastor, I would adopt my "two." Now, that I am thinking about it, I am going to adopt my two and "play like" I am a Church. The first one is not homeless but close, actually a chaplain, seminary graduate. Long story that I don't know but think mental illness involved.

A couple of years ago, Meg, talked me into this annual program in the City, where all kinds of helping agencies show up for a day long attempt to reach the homeless. I was on the interviewing team. After about ten people, I wanted to kill 'em: most ruined their lives with drugs.

I came away, which I'm sure I've mentioned before and everyone was right with it, leaning forward in the foxhole. I think the so called homeless fit in three groups. The first ones are those who love the lifestyle. Drugs probably, they have learned the system, probably we could use the old term: bums. Forget them, we are not going to reach them. A little different than this next group who are basically addicts. Rarely, can we help but with patience, we can maybe reach one or two--lots of energy and resources wrapped around them: rehab/problems of recidivism. Then, there is a third group, families, in particular--if we are willing, we can help 'em. We have to get them in housing and help them with a life plan.

The problem of homelessness is not going away. We are not going to solve it. The old BS of platitudes, force them to work, no welfare, on and on won't hack it. We are not going to let even the sorriest among us starve. We are not a third world country. San Francisco has a welfare to work program that does fair. Homelessness is like emigration. We have to do the best we can but we cannot solve it and, it was Jesus who said, the poor we have with us forever and seems He was their champion.


Thursday, December 06, 2012


I am always a fan of Chaplains because they are so hard to categorize. Consequently, when I see an issue like the treatment of Bradley Manning, I am always wondering, "Where are the chaplains?" I consolidated a few tweets who said something like this,

They are protecting themselves and their careers! I worked for, gosh, 30 chaplains maybe, over my career??? Most would NOT go beyond protocol and standard issues. I would want to do something and most would freak out and worry about Commands responses.


Usually the Chief of Chaplains is worthless and that is where some courage should start. Unfortunately, if he hadn't laid in the weeds for years, he could never have made it TO Chief.

We need about one chaplain per vet. I see these guys at VA, self medicating, etc. Let's keep fighting. We can't give up. I like the "fuck you very much" approach. I use it all the time. God bless. Keep charging.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Chaplain Dialogue

I hope that some of remarks were not meant to castigate those of us who happen to have a different political view than you, but who do seek to live our lives as committed and concerned Christians. We just had our first great grand child who is downs syndrome little boy. This little boy is going to require lots of TLC from a very caring family. Esther and I will do whatever is necessary to see that our little Brady is cared for properly. We have pledged 25% of our estate at death to our church and a big chunk of that will be targeted for helping the poor in poverty stricken nations. I have been in Africa in some of the most impoverished countries on earth. I have a heart for them and want to do my little part in helping them to a better life. I don't believe you intended to say to the some of us that as Republicans we don't side with  Jesus or Nuns or whoever. I have serious problems with Obama. When he was a senator in Illinois he voted for a bill that allowed babies of late term abortions who survived the abortion attempt, to allow them to be put to death. Is that something Jesus or Nuns would applaud for? You can argue about when does life begin etc, but this can only be described as infanticide. That is a moral issue long before it is a political issue. But that is part of the dems platform, if for no other reason than that is what our president believes in. I hope you do not approve of that. If my memory serves, you, like most of us, grew up poor but didn't know it. Our parents struggled through the depression years, at times, wondering where the next meal would come from. They worked hard to  insure that our lives would be better. There are many today who do not have the kind of parents we had or opportunities created out of sacrifice. We need a safety net for such, but not to confine them a life lived on the govt dole. That is demeaning to the integrity of each individual. I want our politicians to come together to do what is right for the American people. We have done it in the past and I hope for a better future. I just happen to believe that the repubs have a brighter future for us than the last 4 years. On that we can disagree, but I hope still love Jesus and follow his commands. Bernie. RESPONSE Bernie, i can only make a brief response to your wonderful and touching email. I am so sorry about your grandchild. Sorry in the sense that there's probably pain associated with the future. To be perfectly honest, I don't know where to go with a response. I don't want to get into defending the President. I am a big fan and think that he has learned to be a good president and deserves a second term. I could, however, live with Romney. (Much more interested in Congress personally. If we send the same ones back, we get the same thing we've had. Presidents are limited. They can only do so much, can send us to war but we are so jaded with war, don't think we have to worry for awhile. Romney did not even mention Afghanistan in his Convention speech) The president and Romney are much more alike than different. If you are into the Myers Briggs, both Romney and the President are ENTJs, you can count on it. Both are smart, calculating, and good managers. However, the only thing that I really want to say and, we can surely agree to disagree, is that you are exactly the type of voter who votes against his own interest. The Ryan budget will reduce or eliminate the very services that your grandchild needs. We could argue issues like the deficit, raising taxes on the rich, etc; and, we could be like the Congress: go nowhere with it. God bless you, Bernie.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


"Combat" is a unique experience. The danger, the anticipation, the bullets zinging over your head. It is the fright, the sheer panic, the emotional response. The firing at the enemy. The seconds, the minutes that follow. It is over. Years later when we meet, at whatever age, we see ourselves as we were in Vietnam, not as we are today: Pot belly, gray or bald, etc. --very unique and now years later, those same senses, locked in the brain suddenly are unlocked--they surface and are experienced again. We have a unique moment.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


A little heads up. I think Raz (my brother) will die in the next day or so. Skip (my nephew) called this morning and said they are stopping treatment and are going to let him die. Sad and I hate it but life and a good decision but I want us to be ready. What do we need to do?

Friday, March 30, 2012


I am not surprised at all that I am in the Bernie camp on the Scriptures. I have always believed the entire Bible to be true and free of errors and if there are any, they are man's and not God. To me, the Bible is part of the faith experience. What about some of those horrible stories of the OT. Dang if I know. Was there really someone called Job. I think so. Did God really say, "go in and kill everbody, including the babies." I doubt it but could be. I have to fall on the words of Lamar and my seminary professor, Dr Boyce. He would say on '"hard" passages," always know this: God is going to do what is right. OK. And, when hard pressed, I am going to say that I believe the Bible, the whole Bible and everything in it. I can't explain it, nor defend it. It is simply what I believe. Amen. 


On Mar 29, 2012, at 7:20 AM, "Bernie Windmiller" wrote:

Have appreciated the discussion on the Holy Scriptures. I am one who believes in Biblical inerrancy. I believe the origianl manuscripts (which are extant) were free from error. To believe otherwise puts a perfect God in a precarious position. Are there errors in our NIV (or other translations)? Yes, but these are problems in transmission. Just because one Biblical writer puts an event at a different place than another, does not mean there is an error. They are writing to different people and situations and knew how and what needed to be said. That is different than a blatant knowningly error. The earliest manuscripts we have, or parts of them, are very consistent with what we have today. Once we start down the road of admitting errors, man becomes the judge of what is God's Word and what is not. Thomas Jefferson is a classic example, who could not bring himself to believe in miracles. So his NT leaves out the miracles of Jesus. He made the decision what was God's Word and what was not. I believe there are a lot less problems with accepting Biblical inerrancy than in denying it. Bernie.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


On Mar 29, 2012, at 4:02 AM, Charles Clanton wrote:

I meant to send all of you a copy of this response to Clyde.  Charlie
-----Original Message-----
From: Charles Clanton
To: Northrop
Sent: Thu, Mar 29, 2012 6:58 am
Subject: Re: Homosexuality and the Scriptures

Clyde,  I, like you accept homosexuals and work with them, love them and help them anyway I can.   The discussion in my mind is not should we do these things and support all people as Jesus taught us to do but was the question are some homosexuals actually born that way and really can't help it.  I hear you saying yes.   I personally welcome all persons to the church for we are all sinners, saved by grace and as hard as we try will never be perfect.  I guess the theological question is if a person is born a homosexual then is he commiting a sin because of it.   The Bible and most of our church members would say yes...he/she is living in sin.  I would have to say....I don't think so!   Charlie
-----Original Message-----
From: Clyde Northrop
To: 'Charles Clanton'
Sent: Wed, Mar 28, 2012 10:06 am
Subject: Homosexuality and the Scriptures

Charlie wrote: In reading Clydes "posting"  I wasn't sure if he was saying some people are just born homosexual.
Charlie, I speak generally and not personally. 
I am saying that we have no way to clinically separate those who MAY have been born Homosexual
from those who developed Homosexuality from life, experience and / or abuse.
The trend is to simplify and use the excuse of “She was just born that way.”
We want to keep from dealing with the issue and use excuses to do so.
Why? Because we think we have judgmental responsibility? 
Even Christ did not come to condemn the world.
We welcome perpetual fornicators in our church. How would homosexuals be different?
If someone is content in Homosexuality, I won’t be able to do what the Holy Spirit does not do.
If someone is NOT content in Homosexuality, and ASKs for my help, then I will work with him/her.
I consider neither Homosexuality Nor Heterosexuality license for Promiscuity.
My job is to minister to people. I don’t have the prerogative of defining, defending, or changing God’s standard.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help clarify the Word. Don’t ask me to help rationalize the Word.
None of this is directed to personalities. Don’t take any of it as attacking.
I try to make my position clear. Nothing more. 
I am not trying to hide behind anything. I work with what I have. A homosexual person is a homosexual person.
Whether it happened pre or post birth we are all sinners in need of a savior.
He who is without sin start casting.
Ask yourself “what is making this so hard?”
Everyone who walks into the door of the church is a sinner.
1. Some accept through faith that they are saved by God’s grace with no merit of their own.
2. Some have become holy and use great effort to keep the church holy.
3. Some stay away because they can’t stand people who believe they are holy.
I seek to cast my lot in #1 above, unworthy and grateful to God for his unmerited favor and sacrificial provision.
I don’t believe in class one, class two, and class three forgiveness.
It took Jesus on the Cross until He died to meet my need.

I was in that crowd that day and I dropped my stone and walked away.
(Lamar, let’s write a gospel song and use that for the first line.)
From: Charles Clanton
Thanks Lamar for your very clear and consise explanation of both subjects.   In reading Clydes "posting"  I wasn't sure if he was saying some people are just born homosexual.  I hear him saying some are born with both male and female organs.     I still believe some are born that way and it isn't the fault of the father or mother.
I'm like you with the Scriptures somewhat.  There are differences in some of the accounts of Jesus activities and when he did them in the gospels but as you well know each of the gospels was written with different audiences in mind.  I'm teaching the Gospel of John right now and the greatness of it to me is that it not only tells what Jesus did and said but what it meant after the Holy Spirit had revealeed it to him over the many years of his life.  He more completely understood the "whole story" after seeing it lived out and living it out himself.  He left out things that the other gospel writers had already covered and emphasized the things that helped people to understand that Jesus really was the Son of God and the Messiah and had come to redeem the world.    I don't hold to total inerency because there were some mistakes made as the Bible was translated, of course.  However the message of salvation is totally clear to me.   Of course in the Old Testament there are things that God was given credit for that I think were certainly misunderstood.   And I don't think Paul was totally right about women in the church.  I certainlyt don't condone homosexual behavior or that lifestyle and believe that homosexuals do not have to act on their desires.  (Straight guys have lived celebate lives).    However, I know that it would be extremely difficult to not act on my argument lacks some validity!
Subject: Homosexuality and the Scriptures
Clyde, in one of your postings you asked me what I believe about this, and why.
I am addressing two issues: inerrancy and homosexuality.
On inerrancy I believe that the Scriptures give us a sufficient account of  God’s mighty acts to save us, and that we all need to be saved, and the way to salvation is through the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  However, I don’t believe that any mathematical approach to the Scriptures can sustain a doctrine of literal inerrancy.  I already gave examples: John’s placing the cleansing of the temple at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, which defies logic, and the Synoptics all placing the temple cleansing at the end of Jesus’ ministry, which account is correct?  Another example is the various numbers and accounts of the feeding of the thousands, 5,000, more, etc, and in various settings.  I don’t like discussing this, because I feel that it makes me disloyal to the Scriptures, and I am reluctant to “put the pen to paper,” as often heard in early movies.
On the subject of Homosexuality, I like Clyde’s approach.  If a child is born with both male and female genitalia it is no fault of him/her.  Likewise, if a person is born a homosexual it is no fault of him/her.  I know the arguments of early childhood experiences on the final identification of one’s sexual identity.  I just have trouble accepting that an over indulgent mother can produce homosexuality in her son, or the opposite in an over indulgent father doing the same on a daughter.   I know that I am omitting a whole issue of early childhood sexual abuse, and I frankly don’t know the answer to that.  I lived in San Francisco for 2 1/2 years and observed the “gay lifestyle,” surely Jerry has seen more of this.  I am not arguing for such a life style, either hetero or homo. I am just saying that we conservative Christians need to take another look at these issues, and do so from the premise of God’s grace.
Summary: I love and value the Holy Scriptures, but I don’t worship them, nor gloss over the contradictions therein.  And I say that as an Evangelical Christian.
I think that St. Paul was wrong on women in the church (S. Baptists please forgive me).  My earliest memory of a pastor is sitting on her lap, at age 5 or 6.  Sister Allie Taylor told me to never forget that Jesus loves me.  I haven’t, nor have I been able to follow the logic that some propound that women cannot be ministers, pastors, chaplains, evangelists.  Didn’t Jesus send us a signal on Easter when he chose the Magdalene to carry the first message of the resurrection?  I guess what I am trying to say is that too many of us fundamentalists (I prefer the term Evangelical) have morphed into worshipping, or at least seeming to, “inerrant” Scriptures rather than the risen Lord, the Living Word.  And I say again, I love and thank God for the Scriptures.
I hope that some of you, who haven’t entered on these subjects, will do so. 

I've liked these discussions. Good thinking. I am more in the "dang, if I know more or less category." Jesus surely talked more about love than he did homosexuality, however. I tell you what I've noticed in myself, being here in the bastion of gay and lesbian existence. I often make a joke and call gays, "fruits, fruitcakes," usually talking to some buddy like myself. And, when I sit down and think about it (to be honest, I don't waste much time thinking about it, only when we have a discussion like now), I feel badly that I am exhibiting a NC slang which is disrespectful. I run into lots of gays in the medical profession, docs and nurses in the Infusion Center the absolute best nurse I've ever known is gay. (I started to say fruit) why do you say, "homosexuality" as opposed to gay, for instance. 



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lamar, this is a wonderfully sweet story. God bless you and God bless your nephew's family and God bless your nephew on his journey. To respond briefly to your comments and I hope the other ten chaps weigh in. Because I live in a very secular environment and hang out with a nefarious bunch of "route step ne'the wells" often, I find myself constantly defending the faith. Scenes like you are sharing would be totally foreign to most of these guys. In fact, we recently had a guy (Amdy) to die who claimed to be an atheist. And, Andy went peacefully. So, I'm not sure there's a real formula to dying. What I can assuredly say is that heaven in particular is a comfort to people regardless of their faith or lack thereof. Andy, my atheist buddy who recently died said to me once. "I know I'm an atheist but in a strange way, I think that I'll see Kathy (his wife who had died a few years earlier) one day. Comfort. God bless and thanks for sharing. 


On Feb 11, 2012, at 3:59 PM, "Lamar Hunt" wrote:

My Nephew,  Larry Kilgore died this afternoon at about 2:30 PM in Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.  I was holding his hand when he died and we were gathered around his bed singing, “Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace.”   His was a “peaceful” death, as described by the nurses.  He had been at the Center since September, had received a stem cell transplant, and had been declared in remission.  However, one’s immunity system suffers severely through the process.  He died of an acute infection (sepsis, I think) in his intestines.  His four children are gathering today, one daughter arrived before he died and another as he was dying.  The two sons were expected in Tampa International around 6 PM.  Please pray for his family, especially his wife, Lynn and his mother, my sister, Betty, and his four children Christie, Marcie, Scott, and Ray.
As we gathered at his bedside, singing hymns, and telling him we loved him, I wondered how people who don’t have this precious faith assurance can stand to watch a loved one die.  What a wonderful thing, this faith in Jesus.  After he was pronounced dead we all sang, or tried to, “When We All Get to Heaven.”  There was joy amidst the profound sadness of our losing him.  Several of the nurses remarked how glad they were to see the family praying and singing (

Thursday, January 19, 2012



 Not arrogantly at all, Dave.  I call it 10 chaps openness, which we all agreed to and still value.  I am hesitant to put the subject of sex on the internet, but would love to have a forum with friends of similar callings and interests on the subject.
Don’t have a “man” yet (I assume you mean for president).  Can’t go for President Obama because he seems to have no sense of financial accountability.  Liked Michele, like Newt, believing he is the one best able to stand up in a good debate with Obama.  Like Romney, but have this fear that Evangelicals won’t vote for him.  I probably would vote for either of the Republicans, although I would have to hold my nose while doing so for Paul or Santorum, even though I like Santorum’s social values.  Perry has probably lost it with the gaff he made in the debates, although he has a proven record as a governor of a large state for 11 years.  I have my absentee ballot already but am waiting a bit more. 

 Don't. Want to come across as one who has it altogether and wouldn 't do somethings differently. I was attempting to relate my thinking process as a result of a couple books I read and with which I found myself in agreement.  Actually if I had to do it over again I would probably have fully retired about 5yrs earlier. Because of my priority of being an involved grandfather.  We have been blessed with 15,soon to be 16 grand children.  I am increasingly convinced that grandparents have an opportunity to make a very significant positive impact on grandchildren.
As I look over my original commentsK I fear that I may have come across arrogantly.
Am listening to the debate.  Who is your man so far?

Dave has done retirement better than me.  My relationship with our oldest son is wonderful, with our daughter good, but in his second marriage we have seemed to be distanced from our youngest son.  Consequently, we don’t get to see the grandkids.
Health wise, I had hip surgery in December, oral surgery too, and will schedule a second prostate surgery as soon as possible.  The first procedure was great for a few years, but the prostate continued to grow and I have to do it again, or keep getting up 4-5 times a night.  I had the “cool thermal” surgery (I think Charlie had it too).  Flomax helps, but not enough, and I am getting tired of having to take so many pills.  So, I look forward to the surgery, having the same thing done, and then, if that doesn’t work it is the TERP.
For ten years after retirement I was chaplain for the Branson Veterans Task Force, was comp-ed motel, enjoyed getting to know a lot of the stars, sold thousands of books.  That got old after 10 years.
Then I had four great years as co-pastor of a community church (UCC), co-pastoring with another great retired Army Chaplain, Merle Dech.  Then health issues forced me to retire.
I hate retirement.  My primary care physician suggested pills for depression, but I am not depressed, just bored!
I enjoyed doing the CD book, Clay Jars and Christians, last year and am looking for ways to market it.   Don’t know if there is another book in me.
I won first place in a Traditional Country song writing contest last year, with I’d Love to Love You, but I Like You too much.  Won $100.  I finished a Christmas song in December, Who Is This Little Boy, and am looking to get it demo-ed and marketed.
I continue to be nourished by good friends, and thank God for Ten Chaps.
Shirley’s health is probably a bit better than mine.  She now does most of the driving.  I am praying for a healthy 2012.
Blessings on you and Clyde, Marvin, in your health issues.  I am happy for your good fortune, Dave, and compliment you and Bernie in your work with international chaplaincies.  
My doctor asked me how I feel (he meant health wise) and I said okay, I suppose, but I have never been this old before and am not sure how a 79 year old person is supposed to feel.  Bernie is older than me, hope he is enjoying good health.
Political?  I seem to be more worried about the nation’s financial dept than most of you.  We can’t just keep going into debt nationally, although it is great that those who need help are getting it.  But, if the system collapses what then.