Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | December 13, 2018

Why I Stepped Off the Side of the Earth 50 Years Ago

 

Two Seniors, Same Guy – Boy and Man

Why I Stepped Off the Side of the Earth 50 Years Ago

A few months back I wrote a piece about stepping of the side of the earth when I went to West Point 50 years ago. Fifty years is the “golden” anniversary because it’s so prominent in human lives. Few get to celebrate a diamond time of seventy-five years. Fifty is the time for complete reflections before time runs out for most. This fiftieth anniversary for me is about the crucible of my life. Childhood shaped my form, but the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Army made me the man I am. Or, perhaps, they gave me the mirror to see my soul and make lifetime choices. Either way, the Lord God gave love, grace, and discipline all along.  My 50 year reflections may speak to your decisions in life.

I didn’t know West Point would be such a plunge from all former reality. I knew it would be challenging, but I had no clue it would be more like prison than college. I thought I wanted to study civil engineering with a side interest in politics and history. The 1964 World’s Fair images of highways across the Amazon jungle still captured my imagination. That’s funny now. Why build highways across the Amazon?

I had choices for college. I was competitive enough to try for an Ivy, but had no desire to go to school in the North. I got early acceptance to Duke and Georgia Tech in January 1968.  Early in February I got a Presidential appointment as a son of a Regular Army officer. It was a competitive appointment. There was only one West Point, so, yes, I had to go up North.

Why West Point? As an Army brat, I’d been around Army bases, troops, jeeps, trucks and tents, etc. all of my life. My parents and all their friends were “Army.” I recalled marching soldiers singing “Jodies” from when I was four at Ft. Leavenworth. I’d always wanted to be a soldier – for a period of service.

My Dad pointed me to West Point when we went to the 1959 Army-Navy game. His boss, Brigadier General Van Wagoner, gave me the book “The West Point Story” and wrote a message to me. I considered the option from then on, but there was no pressure in any regard.

My father had had an appointment to West Point and turned it down to go to the University of Arizona where he could drive cars and chase girls. Wise man. He spoke highly of the West Pointers he knew in the Army. I was more motivated by thoughts.

I read a lot of history and biographies since I was eight. I thought war was a central experience of mankind. My boyish mind likened myself enough to Ernest Hemingway to think I should experience war, not shirk it. See mortal combat, survive, and move on. Seriously, I thought that.

In my Junior year my father almost died from a heart attack. I was confronted with life and death balanced in the next breath. That winter our big English paper was about our philosophy of life. I reasoned what are you willing to die for – defined life more clearly than what do you want to live to do. My paper was “A Philosophy of Death.” My teacher loved it. I was 16 years old.

I figured I was willing to die for my family, my faith, and my country.

Specifically, I was willing to die for America while killing Communists. Living in Europe during the Berlin Crisis, seeing the Berlin Wall at age 13, and reading all that history made me want to defeat Communism. I knew it was as evil as Nazism.

Then, there was Vietnam. My dad was there 1956-57. He told about the terrible things the Viet Minh did to people. Through my high school years I watched his peers and my older sisters’ end of our generation go to Vietnam. I’d read enough military history to actually guess the Vietnam War would last 10 full, fighting years to 1975. There’d be war enough when I graduated from College. I knew well that the Army was a better deal as a lieutenant than as a private. And, my parents would never sign enlistment papers for me at age 17.

I knew I’d always wonder “what if I went to West Point?” Duke University really appealed to me. But, what if?  I chose the United States Military Academy. My Senior English teacher told me, “You are wasting a great mind.”

I went to West Point to be a soldier – an Army Officer. Period. At the end of the long, hellish first day of Beast Barracks, we signed the papers with the oath we had sworn a few hours before at magnificent Trophy Point. I was thrilled. Sincerely.  I was in the U.S. Army.  I was a soldier.

Before the Crucible

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Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | December 1, 2018

5

Time has been different – in every respect – for 5 years.

5

Last year my daughter, Maggie, and I wrote about the day after Thanksgiving. It’s the day her mother, my wife, had a massive stroke. It’s the last time she spoke. It’s the day that took her to the hospital where she would die days later. Last year Maggie wrote that grieving brought herself to a place where she could hold back her tears. I wrote about the growing gratitude I have for life as it is. Today, November 29, 2018 is Year 5.

I knew Nellie Katherine for 41 years. Now, she’s been gone for 5 years. Any five of our years together was a significant amount of time to us. Now, such a length of time actually has transpired without her? It can’t be so.

When she died, I couldn’t imagine five years. Seriously. I couldn’t think that far in the future. I didn’t know if I’d survive that long. What I couldn’t conceive then, is what I find challenging to grasp now. Five full years.

The five years are a different time than all time in my life before then. They aren’t regular years in any sense of my understanding of time. They had all the same seasons, holidays, family observances, etc. But, they weren’t normal years. They were all marked by her absence.

The power of her absence says more about her than our missing her says about us. She made quite an impression. She loved selflessly, fiercely, and passionately. Nellie Katherine isn’t forgotten by people close to her. For her family, or so it seems to me, sometimes it’s like she’s not gone – really. It’s not creepy, because it’s about how powerful her presence was. Her mere shadow speaks loudly to the living.

This year I wrote a book, “A Grief Felt,” to share four and a half years of one journey – hopefully, to serve someone else.

The two grandchildren she never knew and their big sister who was a baby when she passed, can’t carry the memories of her the way we do. Three other grandchildren have fading childhood memories. That’s part of what makes these five years so strange. Her memories are so alive to the adults who knew her. Her entire being is only oral history to the others. How can she be so present and so absent at the same moment?

I don’t understand this passing of time – it doesn’t fit the memories of all my life before. Much of it was distorted by mourning and grief. Time itself is different. Yet, I’m truly grateful, peaceful and content to have this time alive here. I’m humbled and happy. I’m living life. Courting. I just can’t comprehend the time that passed, how long it is, and the very nature of the time itself.

5 years.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 25, 2018

The Idiocy of Identity Politics.

A fancy way to say “shoot yourself in the foot” or “circular firing squad” is to “hoist yourself on your own petard”. You get blown up by your own bomb.  Don’t do it.

The Idiocy of Identity Politics

The idiocy of Identity politics for the Left is – if it wins, their perpetual protected classes of victims will really lose. The alt.right bogeymen they use to scare progressives into their safe spaces will actually arise. Demographics are destiny. Culture commands. Another Human Secularist nightmare will happen, not of its own truth, but because the fanatics of the Left made it so.  Identity politics will transform the empty silliness of ‘White Privilege’ and create real White Identity which will, inevitably, become White Power. It will be awful.

The racially-infused riot in Charlottesville was a fantasy come true for the Left. A hundred or so white misfits carried Nazi and Confederate banners side by side, shouted anti-Semitic slogans, had a big fight, and killed an innocent person. It was heaven-sent. Or, rather, it was the Hollywood-perfect players sent from central casting, since the Left doesn’t believe in God. The alt.right fit the Left’s script for their evil characters – perfectly.

Actually, it was a pathetic posturing of impotent politics in America. The alt.right couldn’t even rally a battalion from across a region of over 80 million Americans. But, that will change, for the worse, if the Left keeps pushing Identity politics.

Identity politics elicits emotions from twisted morality plays. The good guys are permanent classes of victims. The ignorant, insane, and evil bad guys are those immutable oppressors. They’re the same bad guys you see on little and big screens as the Hollywood hierarchy of evil. The racist, misogynist, homophobe, Islamaphobe, gun nut, Confederate, anti-immigrant, anti-Choice, greedy capitalist, etc. heavies’ labels are applied to White, male, heterosexual, Christian, Second Amendment, Southern, anti-illegal alien, pro-Life, hard-working Americans. And, the Left is serious about putting everyone into fixed, labeled group identities. It’s celebrated, almost worshipped, as ‘Diversity”.

Except populations of people aren’t fixed. In the next 20 years as Whites become a minority in America, it will be disastrous to keep these groups and continue to assign virtue and guilt, restitution and privilege, and real political power to them. Because, eventually, enough Whites will start to think of themselves as ‘White’.

It will reverse a century of racial progress. Since the 1950’s the morally ascendant idea is to judge people by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. Across the South and West millions of people stopped thinking about themselves as ‘White’ and adopted a ‘Christian’ identity. The Left will undo that good.

The last thing the Left should ever want is for half the country to start thinking the white color of their skin matters. Because, that half which is passionately dedicated to family, faith, and freedom will fight. If they are truly threatened, they will fight back to win terrible victories. Ask the Indians. Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Don’t go there, Leftists. Don’t push these Americans into a corner.

Even if the racist policies of identity politics never boil into violence – let us pray they never do, who will lose the most in a competition with an energized, self-conscious, dynamic fifty per cent of the population – with a lot of resources?

The blending of all races in mixed marriages is increasing, but won’t blur racial lines sufficiently enough in the next 30 years to prevent identity discrimination.  Mixed race persons will be a complication for the Leftist zealots – which group label do they get? Are they victims or oppressors at birth?

It could all go horribly. It always does with Human Secularism.

The Jacobins had their bourgeoisie. Lenin had the aristocracy. Stalin had the kulaks. In Mexico and Spain, the murderers had each other in their Civil Wars. Hitler had the Jews. Mao had landlords. Castro had counter-revolutionaries. Pol Pot had Depositees.  North Vietnam and North Korea had their state enemies.  Apparently, the American Left is boiling its enemies list down to ‘Whites’.

If that happens enough, the re-awakened Whites will search for their own narrative – and leaders.  Those leaders won’t be kooks of today’s alt.right, but more serious and dangerous men and women.

If Human Secularism doesn’t lead the state to mass murder, then Identity politics creates the tribalism that certainly will kill. The Hutu committed genocide against the Tutsi. It’s what tribes do.

The Left’s Identity politics are idiocy. An awful, terrible, tragic, criminal, evil – avoidable -idiocy.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 21, 2018

Cold Civil War

The map for ACW III will be different than this. Much worse prospects for horrible things to happen.

Cold Civil War

The Great U.S. Culture is a “cold” civil war. As the Cold War was WW III, so too our Cold Civil War is ACW III. It’s the third American civil war in the U.S., since our Revolution was the first and the Recent Unpleasantness was the second. Three civil wars, if we don’t count Bacon’s Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion as such. Professor Charles R. Kesler of Claremont-Mckenna College wrote a great piece on “America’s Cold Civil War” in the October 2018 issue of Imprimis.

He isn’t the first to describe the Culture War as a civil war or leading to a civil war. His perception adds to the body of evidence of what the divisions across America mean.  Professor Kesler illustrates the starkly opposing and irreconcilable views of our Constitution. Furthermore, he clearly identifies five ways forward.

  1. Some jarring event, like a major war or huge natural calamity – unites us all as Americans.
  2. Persuasion and, perhaps, moderation create a significant majority to support one side.
  3. Vastly reinvigorate federalism, as the Constitution was written, to allow states to be very different and have the Federal government to stay out – thus de-nationalize the most disruptive issues.
  4. Secession of some states.
  5. Violent, hot civil war.

That’s a very shocking analysis, isn’t it?

I’ve been writing for option 3, Federalism, for some time now. I’ve also written in hopes of contributing to option 2 – winning a governing majority.

Neither Professor Kesler nor other writers, including myself, want to be Cassandra calling to the wind. We need Americans to wake up. Not in the racial mythology of being “woke”, but with eyes wide open to real, serious danger.

The West Pointer officers of the U.S. Army celebrating their victory in Mexico in 1847 had no idea they would be killing each other in 1861. They never imagined such a tragedy in 14 short years. But, it happened. The politicians throughout the 1850s, Whigs and Democrats, used regional issues to get elected and stay elected. Many Northern Whigs became radical Republicans for the total abolition of slavery. Every issue became a regional fight.

Today, the politics of identity which, ironically, do the exact opposite of their rhetoric – are making every issue an identity fight. What the Left calls tolerance, inclusion, diversity becomes bigotry, name-calling scapegoating, and division.

On the contrary, the politics of ideas actually creates coalitions across demographic groups. The politics of ideas allows the Left and Right to fight issues out based on words. Identity politics lead to tribalism. Tribalism leads to barbarism.

Identity politics will lead to a hot civil war or secession with violence, if Americans don’t stop it – and build a governing majority or restore Federalism to move powers from the Federal government to state governments.

Our divided America is split over issues far more important than the talking heads’ daily chatter about Trump and Pelosi. Let’s work wisely to keep our American Civil War III cold. Please prevent another violent, tragic, awful war from bloodying again our American soil.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 15, 2018

On 68

Telling part of my life story in icons.

On 68

If I keep breathing for two months past my 68th birthday this November 18th, I’ll outlive my mother. I’ve already outlived my wife, father, and three grandparents. I have to go nineteen years to outlive granddaddy Bowden past 87. He probably lived that long because he was so ornery. Clearly, my counting indicates how keenly I know I’m at the short end of the candle. And, it’s just weird. Seriously. I feel like I’m 25. I feel as passionate, as engaged when I so choose, and absolutely alive as I did when I was 25.

That is until I actually get physical. Then, the one artery – which is fifty per cent blocked, the degenerative arthritis in both hips, adult onset asthma, allergies, dry eye, etc. kick in.  So, I’m relegated to fondly remember running and just kayak for an hour instead. Consequently, I feel as passionate, engaged, and absolutely alive as a 68 year old man!

Regardless of how I feel, I’m grateful, grateful, and grateful for every day of life. Not exaggerating. I thank the Lord God several times a day. Without fail. God is sweet, kind, and generous to me. God is good. All the time. No matter what.

So, what can I share on being 68?

First, I like sharing my personal graphic. When I transitioned from being a wannabe barrel-chested, Commie-killer to a note-taking, slide-making Defense Contractor, I discovered how I like good visuals. My life’s story in icons is just fun. Not bragging. Started it in 2013 and keep improving it. It tells part of my wee tale. Please enjoy.

Second, I find it interesting that I’m still living according to prior decisions I made. Decisions made long ago still matter. I accepted Jesus as my personal savior at 12. I decided to live under a vertical hierarchy of duties when I was 16. I chose Duty, Honor, Country at 17. At the same moment I chose the U.S. Army as a primary allegiance – which doesn’t diminish despite my age. I chose to be a learned, educated man at age 19. I chose marriage to have a family at 24. I chose daily Bible reading at age 32. Picked political participation at age 41. I chose to continue to serve my family and honor my late wife – live life purposefully – at age 63. I became a Deacon at age 67.

Third, I know myself well. I really should by this age. I know my strengths and weaknesses. My successes and failures. My appropriate pride and shameful guilt. I know who I am.

I’m a man of significant substance and no stature.

That statement neither boasts nor postures with false modesty. My influence is in my personal relationships only. I wanted to stride a bigger stage in life, but my place is to do what I was told on March 15, 1987. So, I’m a man who remains on the same mission since age 36 – “You will read and write.”   This year I wrote a second book, “A Grief Felt.” I’ve written over one thousand pieces and a novel since 9-11-01. I’ll try to finish that third book next year.

Finally, I hope this was a fun read. It’s 68 years of just one life in Chronos time.   Day to day linear living. My spirit already lives in Kairos time. My eternal life has already begun. My memories, which go back to age 2, will accompany me when I leave this body. My thoughts, constantly accompany me, will continue. What a trip that will be. Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ.

Ordained a deacon on Sunday October 28th, 2018

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 13, 2018

From Trumpenstein to Forrest Gump Trump

 

Gump and Trump are the accidental leaders of movements.

From Trumpenstein to Forrest Gump Trump

In 2016 after Donald Trump’s stunning election, I wrote, “The Establishment Republicans in Congress created this ‘yuge’ political creature – Trumpenstein. They opposed him during the election and are sucking up to him now in public. But, they created him by betraying the voters who gave them the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. These career politicians didn’t do their duty and use their Constitutional powers. They were too cowardly to use the power of the purse, impeachment, approval of appointments and administrative oversight – with very few exceptions.”

Furthermore, “Trump, the man, won a historically spectacular victory connecting with the anger, frustration and desire to improve surging through Americans abused by the Establishment Republicans, as well as attacked, scorned and hated by the Left.   He beat the under-performing, wicked witch of the Democrat Establishment. Trump did great. Trumpenstein was created from the entrepreneur and entertainer Donald Trump.”

Now, in 2018, Trump is the leader of a “yuge” movement, much like Forrest Gump became the leader of a mystical, running movement. Neither leader planned the movement. Both accidental leaders found themselves with many followers. Trump, of course, won’t quit like Gump did. But, Trump will leave – at the latest in January 2025. Then, what for the movement?

Even the Left can see half the country supporting Trump at monster rallies and voting to pick up more senate seats. Of course, the Left mischaracterizes the movement as racism, white nationalism, women voting against their own interests, and every other excuse imaginable in their narrative of race, class and gender(s). Regardless, clearly there is a movement in desperate need of a champion after Trump.

The movement is Middle Americans who love America. It includes middle class Americans – including the lower, hard-working class. Likewise, it’s Americans living in the huge middle of the country away from the North East, Left Coast, and scattered urban cesspools. It’s the Americans, everywhere, who believe “America” is still an ascending idea and the greatest country on earth – without apology.

America’s middle class has been squeezed hard during the transition from the Industrial Era to the Information Era. Globalism is an economic effect of the Information Era. The “Army 21” study I led forecasted the crunch back in 1992. We said the key to the future (2005-2015) would be “the political perception of economic change.”  We added illegal immigration and changing demographics, as well as a hostile ideology – Islamist Totalitarianism as it turned out to be – would affect America. Nailed it.

The result is a huge constituency who need jobs to come back to their hometowns. They want to live, work, and raise their families where they grew up. Furthermore, these Americans take pride in being American. They don’t want open borders for waves of illegal aliens. They expect immigrants to happily assimilate as Americans. They reject being called names by the elites and both Establishments.

President Donald Trump didn’t build this movement, but he speaks to it in his rally rhetoric. He has at least two more years to make more mileage leading the movement. The Democrat control of the House will be challenging, but actually may serve as a useful foil.

Trump, like Gump, is the accidental, or incidental, leader. No one else could be Trump in this moment. Soon, a champion must rise to speak and act vigorously for the millions of Middle Americans who just want the American Dream. These, We The People, Americans just want their kids to have it a little better than they do. We Americans will fight for family, faith, and freedom.

Trump will run until Jan 2025 at the latest. The crowd behind will keep on going.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 11, 2018

1oo Years After the Armistice of WW I

The war wrecked Western Civilization.

100 Years After the Armistice

A Century of Certainty

One hundred years ago today, the “War to End All Wars” ended with an armistice, not a surrender. The ending all wars part didn’t work – after killing over 17 million people. The armistice set up the conditions for a new conflict so severe the estimates of dead vary from 50 to 80 million people. The killing was so great the “Great War” was demoted to merely a number – World War I. Then, World War II was followed by…well, everything. More wars. More killing. More evil.

Perhaps, the tragedy beyond the destruction, suffering, and sorrow is the certainty that another war would come. And another and another. Even, when the conflicts aren’t called wars according the laws of nations, the fighting and killing continues. Why? Because man is sinful and uses free will to choose war.   The inevitability of man choosing the evil that is every war gave certainty to the century to follow to this day. It gives certainty for the time to come. There will be war.

Yet, the decision to actually go to war is personal. Leaders at the highest levels of power decide “yes” or “no”.

World War I is a textbook example. When I was a boy, I read Barbara Tuchman’s masterpiece, “Guns of August”, link the decisions, one by one, to start the war that shattered Western Civilization to this day. Yet, it happened only because men made the avoidable become the inevitable.

The avoidable becomes the inevitable when all alternatives are rejected.

It’s happened throughout American history. As late as the Spring of 1776, even though the Army had been in the field since June 1775, a war of Revolution wasn’t inevitable. British concessions on representation in Parliament or autonomy on taxes could have prevented the Revolution.

In the Recent Unpleasantness, Lincoln could have removed the provocation of federal facilities after secession. Or, the hotheads in South Carolina could’ve not fired their guns on Ft. Sumter.  There were alternatives.

However, some conflicts require resolution, which may or may not mean bloody war. Only one culture at a time can guide the society – from tiny tribe to great civilization. Neolithic Indians couldn’t co-exist as they were with the colonies of the British branch of Western Civilization. One side or the other had to give way. The same was true with Spanish, French, and Dutch colonies and their Indians. The bloodshed varied, but the assimilation took place.

Likewise, once the dogs of war are released, there are no neutrals. Everyone within reach of a conflict will be touched, sooner or later, by war. America was a world power too powerful to be left alone by the combatants in World War I. The same was true in World War II.

The enormity of America’s power after WW II meant exercising hegemonic power wasn’t a choice. The options were when, where, and how to use all the sources of power. America chose wisely in Korea and with the Marshall Plan. America chose incrementally, ineffectually, and criminally in Vietnam.  The rest of the Cold War scorecard of tragic, epic competition was mixed.

At least five great conflicts can happen in the century to come. It’ll be up to humans to work hard to avoid war. Or, the make the avoidable become the inevitable.

  • ACW III. A third civil war in the US can be avoided, for a while, if America returns to the federalism of the Constitution and secures its borders. Some states can defined by the culture of Collective, Socialist, Human Secularist Totalitarianism while other states are defined by Individual, Capitalist, Judeo-Christianity. There are other alternatives too. The nightmare to avoid is a repeat of the terrible Spanish Civil War (1936-39)
  • Euro War. A “Jacquerie” of Europeans against their elites and Islamist Totalitarians can be avoided, perhaps, by many alternatives from a Christian revival and assimilation to stopping immigration and strong arming Islam to become as meaningless and impotent as Christianity is in European culture. Here, too, many alternatives can play out.
  • War Against Islamist Terror. The war between Islam (specifically the 20% Islamists) and the West (and everyone actually) which began with Mohammed’s first genocide against a Jewish village in 627 AD will continue until one culture collapses or converts to be harmless.
  • China Hegemony. When China can challenge the US across the globe and space, militarily, it can choose to confront or cooperate with the other Super Power. We’ll see.
  • Africa. If Africa’s population doubles from 400 m to 800 m, but fresh water and per capita income don’t double, there will be trouble. Great challenges accompany any future. Most portend great trouble.

The events which become crises which lead to war follow one of a few limited arcs of predictable outcomes. Along every chain of events decisions are made. By men and women in power. They can choose the open alternatives with a few exceptions. When the stop considering alternative decisions, the avoidable conflict becomes the inevitable war. That’s worth weeping.

A century ago, World War I was awful. Horrible. Tragic. And avoidable.

So, too, are many, many wars since and to come. Yes, we can honor the human courage and suffering of combatants and civilians. But, we should hate the wars for the evil they are.

November 11th, 1018-2018.  30 Army Divisions and 1 Marine Brigade in France.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 10, 2018

My Veteran’s Day 2018

After I retired in 1992 I kept saying to myself, “I’m not a soldier”, when I shaved in the morning. Then, I shook my head. I couldn’t comprehend not being a soldier.  I felt like I was a soldier on a really long leave.

When someone says, “Thank you for your service” I respond with a less than inspiring, modest, almost perfunctory “You’re welcome.”   It’s awkward when someone thanks me for doing what I wanted to do and absolutely loved doing.   I’m all for thanking draftees who rose to the occasion of their service and the wounded who gave so much.  But, I don’t expect any thanks.  Never have.

I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic on July 1st, 1968.  I’ve never taken a step back from that oath.  I’ve never stopped being a soldier in my heart and mind, even though I’m grown too old and unfit for active service.

The first four years under the flag were endured at West Point.  The next twenty were exulted wherever the U.S. Army sent me.  There were bad days – especially when a soldier got injured or killed.  There were challenges.  There was no combat for me.  Close enough in Korea when Art Boniface and the other guy were murdered by the North Koreans.  I became a veteran soldier teaching, training and educating the armed mob that came out of Vietnam to become the magnificent Army of Operation Desert Storm and 30 more years of deployments in harm’s way.  I learned and practiced my infantry trade in 5 combat divisions.

As a Defense contractor for 20 years I tried to provide “silver platter” staff work.  I got to contribute in tangible, if not attributable, ways to Army concepts, research and development, and field management of contractors providing support in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I even helped the Air Force on contracts – as well as DARPA and NASA.

I thought all my work came together in 2000 when I created the tactical how to fight concept of See First, Decide First, Act First, (Strike More – the Army deleted this). Finish Decisively with Infantry.  In 2009 I heard a returning Stryker Brigade Commander from Afghanistan brief the Infantry Conference on how he fought his brigade successively – using See First, Decide First, Act First, and Finish Decisively with Infantry.  That felt good.

The point is that all my service felt good.  I loved being an infantry soldier.  I was happy to go to the field.  My identity was Army Officer.  There were challenging circumstances and difficult people, as well as disappointments, but such is life.  The service with soldiers surpassed any negative.  Like, I said, “I loved it”.

No thanks are needed for my service.  That’s just me.  I’m grateful I got to serve.  Very, very grateful.

 

End of Florida Phase Ranger School

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | October 30, 2018

Deacon Ordination

The deacons gave the “laying on of hands” and spoke to me.

On Sunday, October 28th, 2018, I was ordained a Deacon in Emmaus Baptist Church, Poquoson, Virginia.   This has been my home church for almost 30 years.  In the past, when I was asked to be a deacon, I declined because I didn’t think I met the Biblical qualifications.  I’ve taught Sunday School for most of my time in this church.  This year, I think I’m ready to serve more and better.

I was asked to give my testimony – and keep it to about 6 minutes – before the ordination ceremony.  So, I wrote it to be as concise as I could.   Hopefully, it’s cogent.

Deacon Ordination Testimony

James Atticus Bowden

I already gave my testimony here on a layman’s Sunday sermon in the early 90s. I’m sure y’all remember every detail! But, for the new folks, I’ll give a few chronological highlights of my testimony.

My name is James Atticus Bowden. I’ve been called Bubba since birth. I’ll be 68 in November.

Both of my parents were right off the farm, but very worldly people of their generation. Both came from very large, very country, very Southern family clans of very, very humble circumstances. My mother was a Methodist but on her death bed I kidded her that she was really John Calvin reincarnated. She was well read and taught her kids theology at breakfast. Daddy was a Baptist with child-like faith. He said his nightly prayers on his knees as a grown man. I was an Army brat.

Three times, as boy and young man, I questioned everything I knew as honestly and objectively as I possibly could. Each time, I resolved that Jesus bodily rose from the dead and walked out of that grave. Each time I believed the Bible is the word of the one, only, true, living God. Each time, I determined that Southern Baptists were the Christian denomination closest to being like the New Testament church in the Bible.

I grew up going to Baptist churches and Army chapels. When I was 12, I was baptized by a Baptist Army chaplain in France.  I was thrilled to know I was saved. As a teenager I thought a lot about living and dying after my father had a major heart attack and the Vietnam War meant young men had to make hard choices. I went to West Point when I was 17. I’d say that I lived as an outwardly worldly guy. Yet, I read, thought, and made decisions about right and wrong and how to live. I graduated to be an airborne, ranger, Infantry officer, but I was always inwardly Christian. I prayed a lot.

My life changed when I began small group Bible Study and reading the Bible daily at age 32. There are way too many God things that happened over the years to witness in these minutes. Seriously, I could talk for hours about my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Not about me, but about my experiences and understanding about Him.

But, I must share that if you really want God to change your life – start reading the Bible every day.

When I was 36 I had the most spiritually moving experience of my life. Seven years earlier, I saw my father on the night after he died in a dream unlike any I’d ever had. He reassured me. Still, I prayed that God would show me beyond a doubt what happens after death. Does my identity with my memories live? I prayed for seven years. On March 15th, 1987 on the snowy cold Bradley gunnery range 214 at Grafenwoehr, Germany I got the affirming answer. I’d love to tell you about it in greater detail some time. A second message I got was, “You will read and write.” Soon after that my Army career, which I cherished and was the desire of my heart, got crushed.

We moved to Poquoson when I was 39. I walked the aisle the next year to join Emmaus. I started teaching Sunday School. I’ve lived 25 places in my life and now one place for almost 30 years.

When I was 42 a Bible verse jumped off the page to become my personal covenant. Isaiah 59:21. “As for me, this is my covenant with them” saith the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words that I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.” It gives meaning to my life.

The next year, when I was at the absolute lowest, most desperate point, in my life, the Lord gave me direct guidance. Again and again, too many times to tell, throughout my life I can specify a thought, a Bible verse, a song, a person, or a feeling spoke directly to me. The sovereign God creator of the entire universe cares about me. He corrects me when I sin by thought, word or deed. Forgives me and bids me know Him better and be His man.

When my late wife, Katherine, was in her 40s she started studying the Bible. She blossomed as a Christian. She’d be a better deacon than me. After she died I found she’d written in the front of her worn Bible, “God never wastes our sufferings.” Amen.

I’ve lived life. Had success and defeats. I’ve had challenges, real loss and suffering as well as physical pain. Yet, my blessings are greater than anything bad. I’ve loved God all my life. I started talking to Him when I was a little boy. But, I’m just a sinful, broken man. I’m ashamed of every time I failed the Lord or could have done better. There are times when I told the Lord, I can’t take another breath unless you will it. I can’t do this without you. So, every time He let me know He is with me. Always. When I’m by myself I’m never alone. Let me say that again, I’m never alone, ever.

I’m grateful for every day I get to breathe to live again to love God and love others. Frankly, I can’t tell you how truly grateful I am at this short end of my earthly time. I’m so happy to be with you in this body of Christ at Emmaus. In the past I didn’t think I met the Biblical qualifications to be your deacon. Now, I’m ready to do my best to serve you.

My testimony closes with what my People in West Tennessee always say, “God is good. All the time. No matter what. No matter what.” Please repeat after me – God is good. All the time. No matter what. No matter what!


I’ll be an active deacon for the next 3 years.

This was one of the most significant and humbling experiences of my life.  As the 12 or more deacons spoke to me, I recognized their voices and listened to their words.  Their love for the Lord Jesus Christ, our church family, and others was touching.  Their focus, kindness, encouragement, support, and purpose was humbling for me to hear.

The humbling isn’t about me – saying I’m humble or anything else so vain – it’s about how humbling it is to serve the one, only, true, living Lord God – creator and sovereign of the universe, all life, and love.  I’m still processing what it means to my spirit to be entrusted more to serve Him well.

I’m grateful to be alive in the flesh and able to serve.  I’m thankful for any continuing prayers of support.

 

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | September 25, 2018

Match Theology Arguments to Audiences

Interesting reading, watching and listening. Big ideas.

Match Arguments to Audiences

Recently, I’ve read and watched “For the New Christian Intellectual” by Cody Libolt and Jacob Brunton. (‘For the New Christian Intellectual’ is on Facebook and has a website). They’re taking on big issues with intellect and courage. I support them in their efforts in general – and would dispute some of their particulars. I’d like to make a comment, not a criticism, which provides a distinction that matters.

Advocating for and against the issues of Presuppositionalism, Christian Intellectualism, and Cultural Marxism engages different audiences. Making arguments for two or more issues at the same time can be confusing to mixed audiences. Even as the issues may be connected, perhaps the arguments are advanced better by focusing on one audience at a time.  Use the language of the audience in appealing to the audience.

Is this an accurate enough estimate of American theology audiences?

  • Presuppositionalism.  5-10 k? Just using this word narrows the discussion to the seminary halls and professors of religion scattered across secular colleges. No one else talks like this. As important as it may be, it matters only in the discussions of a select group.
  • Christian Intellectuals.  100s k? More people will be engaged in promoting the idea that ‘Christian Intellectual’ is a natural, preferred, even scholarly superior term, and not an oxymoron. The arguments to restore the fruits of the Enlightenment to faithful Christians are vital to restore every culture in Western Civilization – and to reach the world.
  • Cultural Marxism. 10s m? The cancer of cultural Marxism in the church is life-threatening to every church body in America. The diseased rot subverts before it kills Christianity everywhere it spreads. The Statement on Social Justice is a good first step in cultural cancer awareness. Much more needs to be done to cut out the temporal tumors and prevent reoccurring

The Apostle Paul was keenly aware of his different audiences. We should do the same. When it’s appropriate connect the dots among the three issues. Add other issues as they fit. Make the strongest arguments possible to advance the Good News.

It’s very encouraging to see young Christian scholars being rightly moved. The passion of youth is well spent for the Word – our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ideas motivate humankind.

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