Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Thursday, February 11, 2016


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

A number of years ago, a man came to see me at my office. I was not his pastor, but he was lonely, and he wanted someone to talk to. He was lonely because he was thrice divorced. As he talked about his former wives, he said, proudly, “Those marriages didn’t last, but I always got my way. I always got what I wanted.”

“Did you love any of those women?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said. “I loved them all.”

“Then you didn’t get your way, didn’t get what you wanted, did you?” I said.

That’s not good counseling, but I had given up trying to be a good counselor by then. I told people ahead of time that I would listen to them, but they would have to listen to me, too. Sometimes that approach worked.

I wish I could use it on current politicians, although I doubt that it would work. The hypocritical crassness of politicians is overwhelming.

I think about that most recently in terms of the Flint water crisis. The members of Congress who voted against providing any relief for the people of Flint, on the basis that it would cost too much, and that meant higher taxes, have all taken relief funds for their states and districts in time of need, regardless of how much it cost, and to hell with taxes. It’s a simple, “As long as I get mine, I don’t give a damn about you.” And every one of them claims to be a Christian. 

There is always corruption in politics, always compromise, always self-interest. But for any political body to work, there needs to be an awareness that honesty, resoluteness, and good-neighborliness have to be the primary qualities of the politics. Dishonesty has to be seen as an aberration, not the default setting.

These are not just political issues. They are civilization issues, moral issues, and certainly religious issues. The Ten Commandments, for instance, say a lot about honesty. So did Jesus, and more than any other issue except forgiveness, Jesus Christ talked about the misuse of money.

Since money has become the one and only standard of success in our society, however, using politics to gain money for one’s self and one’s group is the only standard of success in politics, especially among those who claim to be Christians. Not good government. Not patriotism. Not morality. Not neighborliness. Just money. And good government, patriotism [like taking care of veterans], morality, and neighborliness get in the way of grabbing money.

Consequently, the hypocritical crassness. Politicians know we know they are lying hypocrites, and they don’t care, for they know as long as they have more money than anyone else, they can use their lies to keep on getting elected. They will repeat their lies with a straight face over and over.

They don’t care if we know they are dishonest, lying, corrupt and hypocritical, because they always get their way, they always get what they want.

John Robert McFarland

I started this blog several years ago, when we followed the grandchildren to the “place of winter,” Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP]. I put that in the sub-title, Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter, where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.] The grandchildren, though, are grown up, so in May, 2015 we moved “home,” to Bloomington, IN, where we met and married. It’s not a “place of winter,” but we are still in winter years of the life cycle, so I am still trying to understand what it means to be a follower of Christ in winter…

I tweet as yooper1721.

My new novel is VETS, about four homeless Iraqistan veterans accused of murdering a VA doctor, is available from your local independent book store, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BOKO, Books-A-Million, Black Opal Books, and almost any place else that sells books. $12.99 for paperback, and $3.99 for ebook. Free if you can get your library to buy one.


  1. Glad to find your blog, John. Katie mentioned it to me. Politics these days frustrates me immensely, so I appreciated what you had to share. I don't keep tabs on individual politicians enough to know if your "especially among those who claim to be Christians" statement is true. To me, it seems like it's true of pretty much all of them.