Monthly Archives: January 2021

Hunger for Straight Lines

It is common knowledge and oft-repeated that every election has some fraud. Alright, if that is an inevitable given, what percentage of fraud is acceptable? Ten percent? Fifty?

I don’t think any of those who lied about Brett Kavenaugh to the Congress, news people and the American People were held accountable. What is the cut-off point for lying?

A measure of impropriety is to be expected, we are told. What is the measuring device? When does the gauge say “Enough! You are pushing it too far?”

I’m asking as a Grandfather. What shall I tell my Grandes? What should their moral and ethical standard be to exist in USA 2021?

I’m asking as a preacher. What shall I tell congregations and audiences is socially approved morality?

I’m asking as a Jesus Follower. What does He have to say? Does that matter as applied to my family, tribe, neighbors and nation?

I’m asking for my business friends. How much corruption is acceptable? What improprieties are unacceptable? How about insubordination? Disloyalty? Leaking secrets from the boardroom or R&D?

How much of this stuff can be tolerated before a nation, society, family, business implodes? I’m wondering if God directly judges or does He say, “Okay, have it your way. But know My laws tell you how to do business to avoid collapse.” God is not mocked. Neither are His laws built into the universe mocked with impunity.

“Improprieties” and “irregularities” appear to be the accepted regular and normal. Used to be that we learned to accept ambiguity and “the tension between opposite points of view.” Impropriety and irregular have gone mainstream, or is it just me?

I awoke with an edgy hunger for positivity—good news that is not only pleasant to the ear, but strength to the soul and muscle. My habit of insisting on the speaker have news less than 12 hours old has left me feeling like a cold bowl of spaghetti—twisted, not appetizing and no straight lines.

I read and thought about Philippians 4 and Psalm 37, listened to a couple of songs. Prayed for a list of people in crisis. Then I searched for a book I had set aside for a time like this.

Population 485—Meeting your Neighbors One Siren at a time” written by Michael Perry about towns in rural Wisconsin where friends have pastored and churches where we’ve set up sound, sung some songs and wrote on chalkboards—and desperately hoped we ministered.

Andy Andrews says Michael Perry is one of his favorite writers. He is a fine one. Perry tells stories about Stanislaw Jabowski in chapter one of Population 485:

“Spare, he was. Short, and lean as a tendon. A walking Joshua tree, with a posture less tribute to adversity overcome than adversity withstood.”

Revelation 12:11 has hung around my soul lately.

 And they overcame (satan and evil) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

That takes the edge off. That gives me tools. Adversity overcome; adversity withstood.

©2021 D. Dean Benton

Damnatio Memoriiae

For I want you always to see clearly the difference between right and wrong and to be inwardly clean” (Philippians 1:10 L.B.).

Lucy asked four of her friends in the Peanuts comic strip to sign a piece of paper. Charley Brown says he doesn’t understand. Lucy demands he sign it. As she walks away she explains: “No matter what happens any place or any time in the world, this document absolves me from all blame.” Charley responds, “That must be a nice document to have.”

I wonder if Lucy would sell those indulgences. The current cancel culture may be a prime market. Getting caught between being responsible for nothing and being responsible for everything these days depends upon who holds the eraser.

It finally became very clear to me that what you say or do has nothing to do with your intent or words. It all depends upon what the cancelling culturist say you think, said, do. I watched as talking heads refused to answer, “Exactly what are the words Trump used to incite the riot?”

What is happening in the political world on this Monday is Damnatio Memoriiae of Donald J. Trump. Damn the Memory! It is more than trying to run him out of town as quickly as possible, it is the attempt to erase all memory, all acts, all friends, family and associates from the collective minds of America and Planet Earth. There is activity to exile Trump from ever holding office again, among other punishment. Witchcraft abounds!

This statue-topping, platform-erasure era is not new. The ancient Greeks and Romans made cancel-culture an art form. When I researched my book, “For The Best of Your Life,” I ran across the practice of “Damnatio Memoriiae”. Faces were chiseled off statues, names expunged from books and state records. Entire families were sometimes obliterated. It was the ultimate practice of photoshopping—once you were in the picture and now you’re gone. The practice was accompanied by a less final act that we call ostracizing.   

Socrates chose death over ostracizing. A definition:

“Voting ostraca. In Classical Athens, when the decision at hand was to banish or exile a certain member of society, citizen peers would cast their vote by writing the name of the person on the sherd of pottery; the vote was counted and, if unfavorable, the person was exiled for a period of ten years from the city, thus giving rise to the term ostracism.”

Victor Davis Hansen gives an informal explanation of the Cancel Culture:

These are the words that now permanently define the Capital riot event:

“…a mob of Trump supporters occupying and vandalizing the Capital.”

“Pro-Trump Rioters Breach the Capitol.”

I have listened to a dozen or more people who were on the Capital grounds during the “breach.” I have concluded that there were several groups in that 500,000 to 1.5 million people gathering. Those I’ve heard describe a totally different mood on the march than the narrative on the “news.” They speak of singing, dancing and gathering in circles of prayers. They arrived to see a group at the front already pushing and shoving and fighting the with law officers. There was, I conclude, “Trump Supporters” with a different agenda than those singing, praying, dancing and shofar blowing.

I have read what the breachers did inside the Capital. I suggest you roll call all the Republicans you know by name—the ones who know your name—and ask yourself if any of them would steal furniture, break things and track their own feces around the Capital Building. Mr. Wray from FBI said about the Breachers,

“The violence and destruction of property at the U.S. Capitol building yesterday showed a blatant and appalling disregard for our institutions of government and the orderly administration of the democratic process.”

I refer you to the Pro-Trump/Trump supporters—people whose names you know. Do you think of them as having, “…a blatant and appalling disregard for our institutions of government…”?

People who attended Trump’s speech—the one that incited violence—say the speech was dull, long, low energy and monotonous. His “benediction” was something like “Many of you will be going to the Capital. Go peacefully and patriotically to let your voices be heard.” I am confused. Which phrase or word(s) incited violence? The marchers said they left the speech “frozen” and joyful.

On a Sunday morning, I announced that I would be preaching on Malachi 3 that evening. I wanted the people to read the chapter. While shaking hands at the door, the Mother of our friend Sam Kirk told me she knew what I was going to talk about. She quoted Malachi 3:16:

“Then those who feared the Lord talked to each other, and the Lord listened and heard.”

That was 55 years ago. The import and impact of those words have stuck in me. Mrs. Kirk’s words opened to me a Kingdom absolute essential. It is imperative that the People of God talk to each other. Masking, unfriending, cancelling, exiling and isolating may work in the rite of Damnatio Memoraiiae; it is not acceptable in the Kingdom. Thinking about this, communication is basic to humanity. Those who do it best with the best words and gestures tend to accomplish.

“…see clearly the difference between right and wrong”…requires intentionality where we get our news and information as well as who sets the focus and trajectory of our souls.

I abhorred some of the policies and activities of the Obama administration. While in my thinking and muttering to God and protesting the probable outcome, I heard God’s words if not His voice: Be careful! No witchcraft! Holy Spirit took me to class about damaging the Presidency while angering about the current president’s stance and edicts.  

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).

We battle against spiritual:

      Rulers     Authorities     Powers of this dark world,     Spiritual forces of evil

   Can we talk? What Spiritual weapons are you effectively using?

©2021 D. Dean Benton–Jesus Follower, Independent Conservative, Tracker of truthful cause & effect. 

On-ramp to 2021

Early in 2020 I felt the major word from God for us was…

“If My people  who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

After “turn from their wicked ways” has run like a ticker tape in my soul for ten months, I wonder what wicked ways His People have not yet turned from. I cannot, except as directed to act prophetically, turn from the wicked ways of evil doers or people in rebellion against God.

With the onset of Advent, I emphatically heard…

Those who walked in darkness have seen a radiant light shining upon them. They once lived in the shadows of death, but now a glorious light has dawned! (Isaiah 9:2).

That brought and brings much joy—I am border-lined stoked about an American Awakening. Some of the International prophets are forecasting one. Another verse slipped into focus a few days ago:

And here is the verdict: The Light of God has now come into the world, but the hearts of people love their darkness more than the Light, because they want the darkness to conceal their evil (John 3:16).

How much hope shall we hold out for those people to turn from that which they clutch to their hearts? Whose verdict? God or those who reject the Light?

Family Benton has examined ourselves, confessed and turned. We have listened to the prophets whom we discerned were hearing from God. Now some of them are saying God has spoken a second thing, which to me sounds like a contradiction of the first. Sometimes, I feel as if we are hanging on to Truth by our fingernails, and mine are prone to breaking and cracking.

I have a couple of friends who are “long-haulers” with COVID. They’ve been to ICU, on the ventilator and survived, but each day is a struggle with pain, imbalance and emotional upheaval. I am concerned that the drugs of despair—opioids which have our nation in its grip—will look like a workable option.

Great Britain lost so many men in W.W.I, history says “a whole generation of leaders was lost,” which led them to misread trends building for W.W. II. At times, I think America has lost two generations to Socialism’s lies and the Communist deception. Whenever I say, “What can they be thinking?” I am pushed to examine the fruit of those thoughts and who planted the seeds. The election, the main-stream acceptance and celebration of an ideology that has proved evil and unworkable in a Free Society and the destruction of our institutions causes me to wonder if this Constitutional Republic is salvageable and who will lead.

So! I come to the on-ramp of 2021 and I’m “hearing” God say…

“Be not dismayed…” (Isaiah 41:10).

From Strong‘s Exhaustive Concordance #8691: Dismayed: “to gaze at or about for help or to look away….”

“Dismayed” is image-oriented. Example: Sitting at the kitchen table looking out the window into space. Looking for an answer, solution and seeing nothing. Or sitting cross-legged beside a campfire with a stick in hand drawing lines in the dirt oblivious to everything. Somewhere between trying to figure things out and giving up.

God gives His reasoning that we should not go to a Place Called Dismayed:

“I am with you; I am your God.”

So do not fear, for I am with you

do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I’m hearing, “Don’t go to dismayed. Just don’t go there!” It is not a healthy place to live. To put tent pegs deep there is not a Kingdom act.

Lots of people are hunkering down in Dismayed for whom God has better plans. Those whose businesses have floundered under lockdown, those who lack one idea from taking their dream to market, students who have given up on education, but have vision, desire and ability.

Are there roads out of Dismayed? I can only tell you what I sense I’m hearing from The Father about what I may do with His permission, perhaps with favor and anointing.

  1. Leaning into the provisions of God.

I have seen dismayed—the hanging head, the feeling, the mindset, the curse, approach to life. Psalm 3:3 tells us how the Psalmist dealt with dismayed.

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.”

  1. Continue to follow the daily regimen of Philippians 4:8.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

  1. Walk in faith—to be a blessing agent. One of Gary & Marilyn Hansen’s grandsons returned from Oxford and is studying New Testament. We received his blog about “the spiritual life.” ( He says, for the spiritually alive, all of life is spiritual, not just biblical disciplines and stuff related to church. I know that you are anointed to be a blesser, an encourager and equipper—when the challenge is big enough.
  2. One generation from lost. Since we are always one generation from the loss of freedom; since we are always one generation from losing the vitality of the next generation of Jesus Followers, I feel nudged to invest. We have to start somewhere with someone.

We watched the last few minutes of the movie Seabisquit the other night. The book is great as is the movie. Debi told us about an at risk kid. He came to class one day with a book on his head and insisted the teacher tell every student to read it. He was emphatic and persistent. The kid had found a story he identified with and it opened him to possibilities. He had to share it. Having one’s eyes opened to possibilities is how we begin our move toward a better life. That is why we pray for healings for those who dismiss new possibilities. Your story(ies) can confront those in darkness because they feel assigned or consigned by birth, habits, behavior or just because they are who they are.

Second Corinthians 5:17 is a fact we cannot underestimate or neglect.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

I like the Living Bible Translation with its “new life has begun.” Begun and continuing to come forth! Each birth of new life comes with a catalyst that opens “the eyes of our heart” to see what was blurred before. Creativity expands in the new life.

Benton Ministries will announce a 2021 investment in February. You will receive more news.

You and yours have walked with us through 2020. We have prayed for one another and poured love and confidence into each other. We thank you for your companionship in the past and look forward to our 2021 pilgrimage.

©2021 D. Dean Benton