Cheaters — I Don’t Get It

Last year, at a triathlon, I encountered a gal (JD ) who was struggling on the bike portion of an Olympic (Oly) distance. I chatted with JD, effectively talked her through the bike, and we finished the bike portion at about the same time.

During the run, it was the same: it was very hot and humid, and she was clearly dehydrated. I had plenty in the tank and could have steamrolled her, but–like the fictional would-be Naval Aviation Officer Candidate Zach Mayo–I “talked her over the wall”. At the end, JD decided to break into a sprint so she could finish ahead of me.

I thought it was tacky of her to do that, but I figured what the hey..if it makes her feel better, that’s her business. As for me, I’m man enough to enjoy a DFL*. MrsLarijani and I had a good laugh over it.

This year, JD did the Oly distance at the same tri. The conditions were better. This time, due to a schedule conflict, I opted for the Sprint distance and had a blast. It was my best triathlon execution to date.

This time, JD finished 3rd overall among the women. The kicker: her “official bike time” was better than any of the men. Her average pace was over 25 mph!

I know that course very well–it is very hilly, with a nasty half-mile climbout coming out of transition–and I know many of the athletes who did that race; some of whom are VERY elite athletes: we’re talking Boston Marathon finishers and potential qualifiers for the Ironman Word Championships in Kona.

I also know that JD is not a strong cyclist. And even if she trained very hard over the past year–and I KNOW she didn’t–there is no way in HELL she biked a 25 mph pace on that course. She couldn’t even pull that pace on a flat course such as Tri Louisville.

But that brings me to wonder: why on earth do people cheat in events like these? There was no prize money on the line. Other than some token recognition–there’s some bragging rights, but this was a small-ball event–what is there to gain? I can understand people cheating to get into the Boston Marathon, or Ironman Kona, or even fudging to get a finish that they did not earn at a large event.

But an obscure triathlon that is a fairly laid-back event where no money is on the line and people are generally training for other events?

Ultimately, JD will have to live with herself.

That day, I saw some bold people out there: several people doing their first triathlons. One gal–very obese–slogged her way through the swim, bike, and run. She was about 2 miles into her bike as I was finishing the bike. But, as I drove out after packing my gear–I saw her enjoying a casual jog into the turnaround on the run. I gave her a thumbs-up.

I don’t know her, but she has every reason to be proud of her finish.

There are analogs with the Christian life in this.

One of the things I often point out in endurance sports: you cannot afford to run someone else’s race. You are there to run YOUR race.

During this year’s race, there was a gal who passed me several times: we took turns passing each other. We did this throughout the bike and run. I wasn’t racing her; I was focused on my Garmin data and maintaining a pace I had planned. She was doing a run/walk ratio and was very methodical. She was clearly a better runner, and I suspected she was probably using me to pace her.

I didn’t care: I ran the race I trained for, and I got the finish I wanted. I would suspect she did, too.

The obese gal did the same: she was all smiles in that home stretch. She ran the race according to the rules. Sure, she was DFL, but an honest finish is a good finish. Her finisher medal counts as much as mine does.

JD, on the other hand, got some recognition out of this. But she did not play by the rules. At the end, her medal is meaningless, not even worthy for the trash.

Similarly, in the Christian life, we each have our own races. Some of us have more gifts than others, just as some athletes have better genetics than others. I have a bad back, bad lungs–from three bouts with pneumonia–and a torn rotator cuff. I accept that I am not going to be in the ranks of elite finishers any time soon. Some folks live this life with more gunning against them than others. Some inherit more baggage than others.

Your job isn’t to finish first; your job is to finish well. That you get to run that race is itself a grace from God; you didn’t earn it.

Your finish is also a product of God’s grace. Your calling is to be faithful and run that race according to the gifts you’ve been given.

Just as some athletes will cheat, you will also see “cheaters” in the Christian ranks. They are often hypocrites–they fashion an image that you see on Sunday and Wednesday, while they are completely different persons in private.

But make no mistake: as the Bible says, their sins will find them out. (I often frame it this way: your character will eventually catch up with you.)

The same is true with athletes who cheat. Just ask Lance Armstrong. Just as you can have your awards rescinded–in Lance’s case, years after collecting on the prestige and monies–you can be “disqualified” on judgment day.

I would suspect that, in the final judgment, there will be a mother lode of surprises: some of them pleasant, and others not so much.

*DFL: in the word of endurance sports, this stands for Dead Flippin’ Last. (Well, that’s the clean version.) It’s often a badge of honor in triathlon and other endurance sports, as a last-place finish is better than a DNF (Did Not Finish).

Aspiring Pastor Murders Wife

By now, most of you have probably read about this case: Matthew Phelps, a graduate of Clear Creek Bible College and aspiring pastor, admitted to stabbing his wife to death, claiming that he had taken too much cold medicine. I have some friends who initially gave credence to his attempt at the Twinkie Defense, but–looking at his mug shot–I immediately dismissed that, as it is very clear that he was in a fight with someone who, go ahead and call me sexist for saying this, “fought like a girl”.

He did not accidentally kill his wife; this was a fight that ended in a stabbing.

I had friends who suggested that they looked like the “perfect” couple. I suggested that the facts will reveal a marriage that was very far from perfect, and–beneath the appearances–was a very

Well, the veneer of the perfect couple is beginning to unravel, as I long suspected it would: Matthew Phelps was previously married. (HT to Amy Smith of Watchkeep via FB.)

And while I realize that having a prior marriage does not a murderer make, it does show that Phelps’ character was at variance with the image he projected.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times:

(1) Charisma is not character.

(2) You CANNOT outrun your character. Your character will ALWAYS catch up with you.

Hold on to your seats, ladies and gentlemen.

Class is dismissed for recess.

Regnerus: Easy Sex = Deterioration of Marriage

Here is the story.

That proposition is not a new one; as the saying goes, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

But to call sex “easy” doesn’t do the dymamic justice. This isn’t even about dating sites, which exist for every relationship goal from marriage (e-Harmony) to affairs (Ashley Madison). Those, actually, are behind the times.

Oh noes…smartphones have rendered dating sites moot.

If a man doesn’t care about anything morally, all he needs to do is get on Tinder and, in almost any city, will be able to find willing partners for quick “hookups”.

And while pornography is nothing new, the quality and availability of it is. Up until the early 1990s, if you wanted it, you had to either go to a store to buy it or have cable television and subscribe to it.

The World Wide Web has rendered that moot: high-definition porn, for any type of fetish, is available for free and is but a couple mouseclicks away. For many years, the porn industry was the key driver for the technology development on the Web.

Even worse, the industry now is developing “sex robots” that serve as robo-companions.

(Those have been under development for years–and I have long expressed skepticism about the degree to which they will catch on–but, sadly, the market for those is expanding on the margins. For now, they are for rich perverts, but over time they will be more widely available to perverts of lesser means.)

Against this backdrop, Aldous Huxley might have been an optimist.

What We Have Here, Is a Shortage of Rope

More people need a short-drop hanging than I have rope.

This will make your skin crawl. Read the details. It is long and sad to read.


As I have often said, I am not surprised that pedophiles target churches. I am also not surprised that pedophiles target Christian schools. Pedophiles want kids, and that is where the kids are.

It seems that Covenant Life Church, C.J. Mahaney’s flagship church, had multiple leaders who were given to pedophilia and/or other very dark sexual fetishes unbecoming of a minister of the Gospel.

That Mahaney and others in his inner circle actively sought to cover up the abuses is not news. However, I challenge you to read the details.

Yes, they are sad and sordid and dark. Yes, some very high movers and shakers of Neo-Calvinism are implicated.

I hope this pisses you off. And I hope you stay pissed off.

If you expect God to bless a Church that hides this crap, then you don’t get it.

That is why the fictional John Kelly is my alter-ego.

Class dismissed.

CBMW, TWW, and the “Nashville Statement”: Discuss Among Yourselves

Here is the original Danvers Statement, by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, on masculinity and femininity.

Here is the Nashville Statement, by the same council, which was released August 25.

Here is Deb’s assessment of it at TWW.

Here are my initial thoughts on which I will expound later:

(1) The original Danvers Statement is otherwise Biblically-sound. I see no problem with it. I’m not saying that every signatory of that statement has necessarily fleshed out the details properly–I think some of the Patriarchs/complimentarians, in their attempts to flesh out what that relationship means, have been more rigid than necessary, as the complimentarian framework, even as one looks at Scripture, carries great flexibility–but the statement itself is good.

(2) The Nashville Statement, at first glance, appears to be, for the most part, Biblically-sound. I will delve into more details and make a more in-depth assessment of it.

I would add this, however: having studied the issue of intersex–not to be confused with “transgenderism”, which is a sexual fetish–I cannot say that I oppose such a one, who may have genetic properties of one sex while having anatomical ambiguity, getting surgery. I see nothing in Scripture precluding that, as surgery, in such a case, would be tantamount to correcting a birth defect. It would seem that such surgery ought to be looked at as a good thing in those cases, which are not the same as “transgenderism”.

As a result, I would pick better wording for Article VI to provide clarification.

(3) Deb is conflating two issues: (a) the Nashville Statement–which, at face value–is good, and (b) the questionable doctrine of Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS), which many complimentarians have used to frame their case for complimentarianism/Patriarchy.

My view on ESS: that doctrine needs to be tabled, as any attempt to frame this issue in terms of the Trinity–something that NONE of the Biblical writers do–is risky and requires decades (perhaps even a century) of assessment and deliberation. I would stop short of calling it heresy, but I am leery of framing in issue in a way that the Biblical writers did not pursue. I wrote about that last year.

The Biblical case for Patriarchy is rooted in (a) Creation, (b) the relationship of Christ and the Church, and–in the context of Church offices–(c) the Fall.

When Jesus addressed the issue of divorce, He framed it in terms of Creation.

When Paul explicated the relationship between husband and wife, he did it in terms of Creation and the relationship between Christ and the Church.

When Paul precluded women from particular offices of Church leadership, He framed it in terms of Creation and the Fall.

None of the Biblical cases for Patriarchy are connected to ESS, so I’m not about to go there.

At the same time, The Nashville Statement is not about ESS, and I think Deb is going off on an unnecessary tangent here. They would do better to discuss the particulars of the Nashville Statement.

By focusing on ESS, they are creating a red herring.

TWW and Abuse in the Church: It’s Not About “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing”

Lise, writing in TWW in a firsthand account of an abuse situation handled very badly at Providence Baptist Church, makes a very salient point:

People called Doug Goodrich a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I call the Pastors who knew and did nothing the shitty shepherds who let the wolf in.

Everyone should read Lise’s story. Sadly, her account underscores some key points I have made from here on many occasions:

(1) Pedophiles and molesters will flock to churches for the same reason (that’s where the kids are) that armed robbers hit banks (that’s where the money is).

If your church has a substantial children’s and/or youth ministry, you should expect that someone who is sexually-attracted to kids or teens will be trying to get a foot in the door. Don’t ever think that because (a) your children’s minister is a respected seminary graduate, or (b) you run background checks on everyone, or (c) that your people are of sterling character, that “that would never happen here.”

(2) Pedophiles generally don’t look evil or creepy. In fact, they are often the most trusted people you’ll meet. They will be “cool”, they will have charisma, they will be good with people, they will often be married and have kids.

When someone accuses them of wrongdoing, you won’t want to believe it!

(3) But what YOU do when an accusation is made is the difference.

Are you going to dismiss the accusations and even malign the accusers?

Are you going to “do your own investigation”, and intimidate the accusers into recanting?

Are you going to ignore the accusation altogether?

Or are you going to report the matter to law enforcement and allow them to investigate?

At Providence Baptist Church, leaders allowed Goodrich to skate: they dismissed and maligned accusers, they ignored obvious red flags, they even tried to cover up the truth when it became crystal clear that Goodrich was very guilty of heinous abuses.

Even worse, the pastor showed no sense of gravity of the situation. While I get that he was on sabbatical, there comes a point when one must show up for battle–ready to “bring it”–when a wolf shows up.

It’s time to say to Hell with the vacation. If you don’t understand that, then you aren’t worthy to be the shepherd.

In the case of Providence Baptist Church, it wasn’t about David Goodrich, who was a wolf in sheep’s clothing; it was about, as Lise puts it, the “shitty shepherds” who gave him an executive pass.

IFB Baptist Pastor-Pedophile Richard Mick Facing More Charges

Already on the hook for two life sentences plus five years, Richard Mick, a former IFB pastor–convicted for the rapes/molestations of two children–is facing an additional 8 counts of gross sexual imposition.

Yeah, I know he’s not on trial for the acts for which he has already been convicted, and he’s entitled to a fair trial for the pending charges.

The larger problem, here, is twofold: (a) the folks in his church have not supported his victims, and (b) his denomination–Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFB)–has not lifted a finger to have him defrocked.

And while Baptists can generally only be defrocked by the church that ordained them, the denomination could easily put the heat on the ordaining body to take action.

I cannot say that my personal experiences with IFBs have been bad; I actually have had mostly good experiences with IFBs, even if the KJV-only folks among them can be irritating. Then again, I’ve never been a member of an IFB church, either.

But covering for child sex criminals is a big honkin’ deal, and the IFB needs to re-assess their existing mindsets which may be exacerbating the problem.

Race Relations, Part 1: The Attack on Statues, Monuments

Having lived on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, and having attended both de-facto segregated schools (grades 4, 7-8.5,10-12) and integrated/de-segregted schools (grades 1-3, 5-6,8.5-9), and having worked in environments that included multicultural settings, I’m going to offer my $0.02 on race relations and confederate statues and monuments.

When I was in 3rd grade, we moved from Dayton, Ohio to Albany, Georgia. That May, we did what we had always done: we took Memorial Day off from school. But at that school, they didn’t take that day off.

Other than the accents, that was the first serious difference I noticed about the South. We hadn’t been taught much about the Civil War at that time, but we would get quite the education in the coming years.


In 7th grade, when we moved to Nashville, I attended a private Christian (fundamentalist) school for the first half, and then transitioned to a public school when we moved to nearby Hendersonville. In the former, we learned Tennessee history, and the coverage was fair. We had not, however, reached the coverage of the Civil War. When I moved, we had just covered Andrew Jackson. At the public school–where I finished 7th grade and the first part of 8th grade–nothing was ever addressed. The Civil War was not covered, pro or con.

However, over the years, we traveled between Ohio and Florida. Oftentimes, we would stop in Lookout Mountain. We got to see different perspectives on the Civil War. It was covered fairly.

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of memorials and monuments. Each tells a story. Sometimes those memorials can represent unsavory times in our history; sometimes those memorials celebrate great victories; some of them–Vietnam in particular–represent a painful testament to very bad choices by our leaders.


In America, we have a tendency to memorialize our history for both better and worse. Sometimes we over-romanticize the accounts; other times, we tell the sobering truth. But monuments and memorials provide an opportunity for reflection regarding the person, the event, and the outcomes.

This is why, as much as I HATE the KKK, I have no problem with a statue of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, perhaps one of the most enigmatic military figures in American history. Yes, he was a founder of the KKK. But you know what? If you study about him, you will find that, near the end of his life, he provided the following remarks in a speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God’s earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) This day is a day that is proud to me, having occupied the position that I did for the past twelve years, and been misunderstood by your race. This is the first opportunity I have had during that time to say that I am your friend. I am here a representative of the southern people, one more slandered and maligned than any man in the nation.
I will say to you and to the colored race that men who bore arms and followed the flag of the Confederacy are, with very few exceptions, your friends. I have an opportunity of saying what I have always felt – that I am your friend, for my interests are your interests, and your interests are my interests. We were born on the same soil, breathe the same air, and live in the same land. Why, then, can we not live as brothers? I will say that when the war broke out I felt it my duty to stand by my people. When the time came I did the best I could, and I don’t believe I flickered. I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe that I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to bring about peace. It has always been my motto to elevate every man- to depress none. (Applause.) I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going.
I have not said anything about politics today. I don’t propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, that you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Use your best judgment in selecting men for office and vote as you think right.
Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. I have been in the heat of battle when colored men, asked me to protect them. I have placed myself between them and the bullets of my men, and told them they should be kept unharmed. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I’ll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand.

Does a statue tell me all of that? No. But statues often leave me wondering about individuals, and give me a note to look that person up and check out the balance of his or her life. I often do the same thing regarding monuments to battles.

Monuments and memorials represent a story. Sometimes that story is sordid and bitter, as every great nation in history has had sordid and bitter periods in their histories. Sometimes that story is glorious. But those are about who we were and how they have shaped who we are today.


Almost every year, MrsLarijani and I flock to Dayton for the Air Force Marathon, which is held at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB. It was a place I frequented during my grade-school days, it is where I did my first marathon. We always tour the museum the day before.

In that museum are aircraft of all types, going back to attempts at flight before the Wright Brothers. It includes aircraft of all types throughout every era of aviation, including World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Cold War, and even the era since the Cold War.

Those aircraft include German WWI aircraft and WWII aircraft, Japanese aircraft from WWII, and even Soviet aircraft from the Cold War era. Among the aircraft on display is a North Korean MiG-15 that was flown by a professor of mine who defected at the end of the Korean War.

The Germans and Japanese–and dare I say the North Koreans in collusion with China and the Soviet Union during the Korean War–killed thousands of Americans. Ditto for North Vietnamese who flew Soviet aircraft.

I have no problem including those in the museum, as they provide a forum that one may learn (a) the history of flight, (b) the history that drove the development of such aircraft, and (c) the state of flight today, for both better and worse, as a result of those factors.

I once believed that the equitable solution here with respect to statues and monuments was to create museums for their inclusion, while opposing their destruction. Having seen what is going on today, however, I am opposed to moving them. Leave the statues and monuments as they are.

Today’s leftist fixation on monuments and memorials is a recent thing and is being driven by mostly Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) who have nothing in common with the movers and shakers of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

I cannot help but question the SJW preoccupation on statues and monuments at this time, given that (a) that war has been over for 150 years and (b) not even the iconoclastic movers and shakers in the Civil Rights movement targeted them. While some could argue that MLK had other irons in the fire at the time, many years have passed between then and now. Race relations had been improving greatly until the push for reparations began circulating in the late 1990s.

The cynic in me suggests that there is a more insidious agenda going on here, and it isn’t simply about race relations, but rather something more totalitarian in nature, with the lure of reparations in the form of “social justice” as bait, as an endgame.

I have some good friends who are totally on-board with removing Confederate statues; at the same time, from what I see from the SJWs, it won’t stop there. In fact, they’re already aiming for statues of our Founders, including Washington, Jefferson, and–ironically enough–even Lincoln.

To that point, those who ask, “When will it end?”, indeed have a legitimate question.

One thing we must remember: SJWs, at their core, are cultural Marxists. The authors of their playbooks are Marx, Mao, and Alinsky, their leanings Communist, and their appeal to the Christian is merely to recruit useful idiots.

And when understanding Communists, we must remember that it is not a political or an economic ideology but rather a militant Atheist religion that seeks to impose itself through political , military, and economic means. They have killed more of their own people in peacetime alone than any system on earth.

There are radical totalitarian groups in the Middle East who are destroying statues and monuments: they are ISIS.

The only difference between ISIS and our SJWs is that the former is motivated by Islam and the latter by communism.

Are SJWs seeking to kill you? I doubt it. They do, however, seek to rule over you and impose their system of law and justice on you. And to do that, they must gaslight you into accepting their narrative about history.

But for that to happen, they must make it more difficult for you to identify with the truth.

What you must remember, however, is this: even if you are a minority, the SJW is not your friend. You are just a means to his end, just as the laborer was to Lenin in the Bolshevik Revolution.