Category Archives: Christian

Attacked By Broad Brushes

It’s not even 8:30 and I’m already wondering.

Seth Godin talks in a recent podcast (Akimbo) about the placebo effect. He claims that 95% of your brain does not understand English. The brain functions on chemistry and feelings. What your spirit “knows” informs the brain. If you know that you are “greatly blessed and highly favored” your brain will tell you ways to show that to be true and will open your eyes to solutions and opportunities.

I am a white evangelical male. According to those who are left of center, I am not only deplorable I am responsible for everything bad that has ever happened in our Republic since Colonial Days. Not only the secularists and radical, but I’m reading Christian media people (whom I rather like) talking about the WEM tribe in grossly dismissive and contemptuous words. I listen attentively to their indictments and I don’t see many of my male friends or mentors there. I am fairly introspective. I may be self-deluding, but they aren’t describing me. I am as concerned about environment stewardship, human rights as any of my peers. I am also often without a clue how to solve societal and racial problems, but it has nothing to do with my faith, or anatomy. You could surely find me self-justifying and ignorant, but it is not because there is a WEM gene that can never be redeemed or corrected.

A left of center, white, kinda evangelical (she doesn’t like the word. She is in a serious journey with Jesus.) media woman posted a study that says Christians are more than twice as likely to blame a person’s poverty on lack of effort rather than circumstances. I do not equate poverty with skin color. When I fail or find myself into any kind of need I ask if I’m blocked because of lack of effort. I have several ways of doing that. I apply my self-directed inquisition to others. Some are blatantly not trying—more don’t know what to try. An even larger number tried and what they tried didn’t work. Disappointment leads to cynicism and iron-clad self-doubt until there is no reason in their soul, mind and spirit to try at all. It is not either or. It is not about color.

There has been an all-out war on the white male since the 60s. Now the designated scape-goat is the white American, evangelical male.
If I understood the evangelical movement as media represents it I wouldn’t like it either. The left of center has co-opted and stolen “evangelical” for a variety of reasons. The term has been redefined and made it what it has never been intended. The WME critics tend to raise a placard of Pat Robertson as the ultimate example of ignorance and stupid comments. I also cringe when he says some things. He is grouped with robber barons of another century. Have these critics researched how much Robertson’s ministries give each year to help the poor or natural disasters? I think of World Vision, Samaritan’s Purse, Feed The Children and many mega-churches who give millions a year. White, American, Evangelical men.

An evangelical by definition is not political. It is a group of people who tend to interpret the Bible a certain way and understand that Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth to die for our sin and fix what was broken in the Fall. An evangelical tends to interpret what happened on the cross and how we are to share that message with the world. Among other things. Our understanding and beliefs influence our politics because of what we know about God and what His self-revelation teaches us about inter-personal relationships and relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Ghost. The core values of an evangelical does not include our political party. We are not a lock-knee voting block.

Being an evangelical is to be “mission-minded” about the lost, the orphan, widow, poor, oppressed, hungry, uneducated and the sick—just to begin.

There is power in the pen. There is confusion and inaccurate claims in the broad brush.

Beware of the broad brush!
©2018 D. Dean Benton


Solid answers, reasons & strategies

I want to avoid extreme hyperbole, but I think 12 Rules for Life: An antidote to chaos (Jordan Peterson, Random House Canada, 2018) is the most important book of this young century.

It is not yet in paperback. Hardcover runs $15-$17—Amazon. An alternative plan is to get in line at your library or take a day trip to the nearest large bookstore and spot read it. There will be coffee and plush chairs.

If you have children at home, at least read the 3 page summary of Rule 5—“Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.”
Summary of Principles:
1. Limit the rules
2. Use minimum necessary force
3. Parents should come in pairs
4. Parents should understand their own capacity to be harsh, vengeful, arrogant, resentful, angry, deceitful.
5. It is the primary duty of parents to make their children socially desirable (page 142-3)

When Carole hears that I went to the riverfront, she will ask, “Was He there?” I will exclaim semi-hyperbolic, “OH! MAN! OH MAN! OH MAN!”

After reading this chapter, I wonder why I’ve never seen a church advertise that they specialize in ministry to the single parent. The Kingdom is missing something here! (North Point Community Church has a Sunday evening gathering for parents and kids for Q&A.)

If you want a clear view of why there are school shootings, chaos, and troubled white, emotionally ill, distressed boys, read Rule 6—“Set Your House in Perfect Order Before You Criticize The World.”

Dr. Peterson speaks to the causes. One of Columbine shooters wrote enough clues. Peterson says about Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora, Colorado:

“The murderous individuals had a problem with reality that existed at a religious depth.”

I think the ideas in this book provide pro-active tactics. The writer, prof at Harvard and University of Toronto is described as “secular.” The more I hear him talk and read his articles (Newsweek) and books, the more I hear a biblical prophet.

Thank you
©2018 D. Dean Benton

Who’s Your Daddy?

“Compassion fatigue.”

The matriarch of the animal group in our family went to the vet last week for dental work. She did fine. The vets and workers vocalized how glad they were for her. One of the younger members of our animal kingdom made a trip to the vet today. Except for reptiles, we pretty much have the small animal kingdom covered with at least one rep from each segment. The vets in several communities know the names of our pets and understand that they are the 4-legged members of the family—except for the chicken, and bird. We are, therefore, troubled by the news that there is an epidemic of suicides among veterinarians specializing in small animals. The crisis is attributed to compassion fatigue.

A psychologist said this morning that you and I are subject to compassion fatigue. The feeling is of being overwhelmed by the constant news of nations, orphans, tragedies, absent justice and a thousand other assaults to the point we shut down and block out news because our compassion reservoir is extremely low, if not empty. Overwhelmed, overloaded, fatigued, self-defense cynicism.

The psychologist tossed another word into the story. Chaos. Compassion and chaos are connected. I don’t know which comes first.

I am obsessing over Abram & his tribe. It seems to me: God told Abram to get away from Ur of the Chaldeans before He told him there would be a Promised Land. Ur was in Mesopotamia. Jordan Peterson says,

“…the ancient Mesopotamians believed…that mankind itself was made from the blood of Kingu, the single most terrible monster that the great Goddess of Chaos could produce, in her most vengeful and destructive moments.” (12 Rules for Life, ©2018 Random House Canada, page 55)

There is, I believe, a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. In that eon of millions of years is when dinosaurs and all their companions roamed the earth. Nothing God ever created could be evaluated as “without form and void”—chaos. I also believe that satan was removed from heaven and landed on this planet during that eon. Where Lucifer is, chaos is or will be.

It interests me that the “Russia, Russia, Russia” period can be called chaotic and the reason Russia interfered in the 2016 election was to produce crippling chaos. When we (individually or culture) are overwhelmed we experience it as chaos—too many contradictory elements to easily think about or resolve into a sensible cause or result.

Chaos can lead to spiritual, emotional and physical death.

God wanted Abram to get out of that chaotic atmosphere of Mesopotamia. He wanted Abram to know the “blood that flowed in humans” was not from an evil source, but from a loving God.

Behind all that’s going on in our culture there is a war between the kingdoms. The kingdom of life and the kingdom of death.

Well, that’s how all of this connects for me. One of first results of a chaotic-overwhelming time is compassion fatigue.

Who’s your daddy? Who’s blood flows in your veins?
“Oh yes! I’m a child of the King. His royal blood now flows in my veins.”
©2018 D. Dean Benton

Legacy leading to Your Destiny

Several years ago, I was watching a TV discussion that landed on the ministry of Billy Graham. Two men talked about what would happen when Mr. Graham died. This became known as “The prophecy.” I respect those men who “sensed” in the Spirit a wide-spread calling forth a new group of empowered evangelists for the new day. The heavy underlining was that something would break open that Billy Graham’s death would ignite. Others I respect have said the new group would be a generation. We heard Anne Graham Lotz speak prophetically of that at the funeral. It sounded to me like a ratification of the earlier seeing.

Ed Stetzer moved from Lifeway—an arm of Southern Baptist Convention—to Wheaton College. I followed his blogs and publications then and still do. Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group
I want to share a portion of Mr. Stetzer’s Exchange blog from Christianity Today that fits into the “prophecy.”

My colleagues at the Billy Graham Center, Paul Erickson and Bob Schuster, shared with me one example of a hero maker by the name of Elner Edman.

Elner was the brother of V. Raymond Edman, a past president of Wheaton College. Elner and Herman Fischer, who was on the Wheaton Board of Trustees at the time, were on vacation golfing in Florida. There, they met Graham, who was then a student at the Florida Bible Institute, a then-unaccredited Bible college (today, it is Trinity College in the Tampa Area).

They listened to Billy preach, but they also went golfing and Billy served as their caddy,
carrying their golf bags. They found themselves impressed with him and encouraged him to consider attending Wheaton College after finishing a degree at Florida Bible Institute. Graham had said that his mother had always wanted him to attend Wheaton, but that it was out of their financial reach.

So, having been impressed with him, both Edman and Fischer came back a couple days and Elner offered to pay the first year of his tuition at Wheaton. They both also agreed to work to get him a scholarship. Graham did end up attending Wheaton College, which became a key transition point to his global ministry.

When I shared this in front of the 6,000 attendees at the Exponential Conference, I did not tell people who Elner Edman was. I simply put his picture on the screen and explained that for the last year and a half, I’ve carried a responsibility of something called the Washington Project.

In the Washington Project, my job was that upon Billy Graham’s death, I was to cancel my plans, to call and set into motion certain events related to the funeral, and more. I have actually carried a card with me that I held up to the attendees at the Exponential Conference and explained that I would get this call and then I would call certain people.

So, I explained to those at Exponential that by putting a picture of Elner Edman up, I wanted to encourage all of us that there are all kinds of hero makers. In this case, Elner met his caddy, thought he had potential, encouraged him to go to Wheaton College, and helped pay his way to go to Wheaton College.

After explaining a bit about the card and the Washington Project, I explained that Elner Edman’s caddy died recently, and I put a picture of Billy Graham on the screen.
©Christianity Today, 2018

The vision that came from several (and sometimes differing) parts of the Body of Christ seems to be coming forth.

Another “investor” in Billy Graham was Christian Educator Henrietta Mears who invited him to her summer conference. It was there that Billy Graham worked through the credibility of the Bible and then the role it would have in his life and ministry. He developed a biblical worldview.

Two major Christian research groups studied Generation Z or iGens, which follows The Millennials. Their research says that 4% of iGens (including Christians) have a biblical worldview. This percentage has been eroding beginning with Boomers. A Biblical worldview is almost impossible as long as a person is Biblically illiterate. I take this one step further by quoting:

“The Bible is, for better or worse, the foundational document of Western Civilization (of Western values, Western morality, and Western conceptions of good and evil.)” (©2018 Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life, Random House Canada.)

My lengthy blog “After thoughts & Prayers” ( outlines how I see a possible way the vision above—calling forth heroes and building a generation of leaders—could work. With the dismissal of God and the Bible from our culture, the younger generations have no basis for thought about or words to conceptualize America’s faith systems, our form of government or a solid understanding of the virtues. Or a capacity to understand or internalize The Constitution, let alone live as a Follower of Jesus.
To whom will you become a hero? How?

Thanks for thinking about this.
©2018 D. Dean Benton
Writer, Wonderer

Our Generation

A dear friend, who edited my early books, missionary, teacher, office manager, magazine editor, secretary to a denominational head, went to be the Lord on Good Friday. We have not had any communication for about three years when Alzheimer’s set in.

She married for the first time after she retired. We visited the couple in Florida and listened to their stories of mission work. Marion baked bread to sell to raise money for mission projects in her Florida condo. She and Ernie shared their lives and asked about our work and lives.
Miss Marion was of a different generation. I’ve always wondered how we moved into the relationship. She used her blue or red editor’s pencils with abandonment. She was more liberal with verbal affirmations. When too many weeks passed without a note from us, she would call to ask about us.
I have been surprised and confused by my reaction to her death. I’ve tried to name the deeper reasons. I’m glad she is free from her illness. She’s home with Jesus and family. I, however, feel as if I have lost something more than precious—it feels as if I have lost a supporting pillar: Someone who believed in me when she had to cast a minority vote. A disconnect with a former life.
One of her friends said she was like King David who…

“When David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried…” (Acts 13:36a).

That may be the finest of all epitaphs.

In the 80a—90s, Youth evangelist Ron Hutchcraft said the Millennials would be characterized by four things. One was that suicide was an option. Today in America, suicide is the second cause of death among young men of that generation. In England, it is the number one cause and surpasses the next three causes combine.

Matthew West captured us with his song, “My Name Is.” His book by the same name was released yesterday. He and Max Lucado talked about the subject matter and emphatically stated a basic issue among us is that many do not know “who we are.”

“Served his/her own generation.”

I have young friends who have responded to the call to minister to evangelism on college campus and other ethnic and geographical peoples. I do not think I have ever heard an altar call given to minister to the Millennials who do not know who they are or what their calling is. Lost. Vulnerable. Angst. See no purpose. It is a large constituency.

Who has the passion? Where is the ignition point for the belly fire? Who is doing that ministry, today? It demands a special call and education.
A generation in secular terms is defined by historical/social events that shape the youth who live in the era. A biblical generation is 40-years. A ministry generation are the people alive in your “neighborhood” during your lifetime. We found Carole’s mother served her generation. We were not aware that her “generation” covered a wide age spectrum.

“I’m Possible!”

Can we talk?
Copyright 2017 D. Dean Benton

Ran across two podcasts that speaks to this crucial work: “and” and “Dan Allender Center”

Channels deep enough to…

Andy Andrews lives near Fairhope, Alabama which is on the Gulf off toward Mobile. He was talking in the current podcast about a bookstore called Page & Palet in Fairhope. He described it as one of the 5 or 6 most important bookstores in the country. He says: spend 2-3 hours in that store and you will likely run into one or more major author. Then Andy said that lots of authors are moving to the Fairhope area.

If you want to know where photographers go to breathe pure photography air, that would be in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area. Just as painters and writers gathered in Paris in decades past.

It is easy to figure out why so many country and gospel musicians migrate to Nashville and why writers and creatives have found Franklin, Tennessee a good place for home. That is partly because Nashville is where records are made, music is written and business is done. That is where Tootsie’s is and where agents hang out looking for the next big star. But Taos and Santa Fe is about creativity.

Our son has wanted to go to New Mexico to breathe that 21st Century tin-type oxygen. It is like a working pilgrimage to the spout where the creativity blessing comes out.

One of our friends believes our town of declining 35,000 souls was founded and set aside by either God or something to be Hollywood East—the place where movies are made and creatives gather. He has a Native American soul—I think. He thinks that until the city becomes a certain population, that creative “magic” is locked up, held in check.

Karl Rove said this morning it would be fun to watch a Trump—New Gingrich ticket since Gingrich has an idea a minute. That is not a new description of Newt. Where did he learn that or where did he go/where does he go to “breathe the creative air?”

I am tempted to take a quick drive to Fairhope, Alabama to visit my nephew’s family (better check if they are in before I fuel up) and go breath the air at Page & Palet. I know exactly what the air is like and I know it is magic. But even stronger is a desire to establish an enclave close by where people will visit to interact, sit together with great coffee and exchange wonderful, crazy and wise ideas. A place where I will benefit from whatever is in the water and air that stimulates and enriches.

I’m reading Lincoln’s Battle with God by Stephen Mansfield. (2012). Lincoln found New Salem, Illinois. Some historians say New Salem was his alma mater. He came of that experience with the ability to process his dreams and hone his thinking. One of the chamber of commerce statements is that New Salem was settled on the Sangamon River with channels deep enough to….

I’m wondering what it would take to build that kind of enclave on the banks of the Mississippi.

©2016 D. Dean Benton—Writer & Wonderer—

Never Changes His Mind

One of my junior high friends is not just in trouble today, he is feeling troubled. My book, Turn Back the Tirade is a few days from publication. I not only want him to read this ebook, I want him to “get it.” What he is feeling today is legitimate. How he is dealing with the feelings may not be.

There are Three Big Ones that cause anger and hostility:

  1. Frustration
  2. Disappointment
  3. Rejection

No wonder my young friend is upset! What happened to him triggered all three.

Dr. Brené Brown reminds us that power is the ability to effect change. The three “Big Ones” are frontal attacks on our belief that we can change anything. When we—regardless of age or social status, wealth or how sexy we are—are questioning our worth or value, are frustrated, disappointed or rejected, we are going to feel disempowered. That is debilitating and scary.

Dr. Brown says we are caught in a cultural lie that life is all supposed to be fun, fast and easy. She says the current cultural assumption that things should be fun, fast, easy, leads to…

“…the combination of fear of disappointment, entitlement, and performance pressure (which) is a recipe for hopelessness and self-doubt.” (Brown) That describes lack of power—inability to effect change.

Write this on the first page of your journal: My worth is God’s gift to me. It is my birthright. Nothing that will happen to me changes that. My self-esteem may waver—that is what I feel about myself—but my self-worth is the way God feels about me. He never changes His mind!

I would trade a couple of graduate classes for one grade school class that taught me that disappointment, frustration and rejection are part of life. Therefore, I need to learn how to effectively deal with them. Angering at other people and disliking myself doesn’t help. Why doesn’t someone say, “Here, let me show you how to do that right!”

Vicki Yohe is a singer and a missioner. She was on one of my favorite programs to sing one of my favorite songs. The host interviewed her about her mission to Uganda where she has planted an orphanage. She says we have done it wrong. While we have been feeding and clothing, we should be empowering.

Empowering is connected to hope.

Dr. Brené Brown says, “I always thought of hope as an emotion—like a warm feeling of optimism and possibility. I was wrong. …hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process.”

Hope happens when we learn to think, say and act out…

    • I know where I want to go, what I want to be: I have purpose, desire, goal, direction.
    • I know how to get there. I’m persistent, and I can tolerate disappointment and try again.
    • I can do this!

Put another way, hope and empowerment describe…

  • Tolerance for disappointment. (Of course I’m disappointed, but it will not kill me or change God’s opinion.)
  • Determination. (I’ll persist and work hard. What happens to me today makes my life temporarily more difficult, but it doesn’t change who I am—God settled that!)
  • Belief in self. (This hurts and this is tough, but I can do it. I can do it!)

Branding that on your soul is not fun, fast or easy. We are not entitled to special treatment. It is your choice to do the hard, persistent, determined work.

Dr. Brown’s words are challenging and invigorating:

“I always thought of hope as an emotion—like a warm feeling of optimism and possibility. I was wrong. …hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process.”

“I think it is so empowering to know that I have the ability to teach my children how to hope. It’s not a crapshoot.” The Gifts of Imperfection, (Hazelden ©2010) page 65

©2015 D. Dean Benton  

Ebooks from Dean that you will find helpful.

  • Turn Back the Tirade—Anger management and personal empowerment
  • HopePushers—with intent to deliver—What hope is, how to get it, how to maintain it, how to dispense it.
  • Caught in the Tail Lights—Dealing with parental divorce, abandonment, rejection, purposelessness.
  • Good Vibes

    The thought is outrageous. Craig McConnell, associate of John Eldredge, was on the Ransomed Heart podcast talking about “What brings you life?” He was asked how he finds the answer. The first way, he suggests, is to ask God—this is so outrageous—ask God what He created you to do with Him. What does God want you to do so He (God) can enjoy doing it with you?

    Going to the coffee shop could be God’s idea to bring me “life”? I seldom go to a coffee shop to drink the coffee. I have a full drawer with a dozen coffee flavors and Carole keeps bringing home bargain coffee that through some miracle she will like. No, darlin’ that is the way coffee tastes and only through my bartending skills, I produce an interesting coffee flavor—on a good day.

    I go to coffee shops or bagel stores to experience God as I pray, sort out His plans or in an effort to hear from Him. I don’t always get it straight—but Jesus seems to show up in certain places—and for me it is a coffee shop or specific parking lots or on the river front. Recently, I’ve been drawn to a gravel road overlooking a flood plain.

    “When the ‘constellation’ of vibrating energies between two people move toward one another—in all their juxtapositions and oppositions—and those vibrations are in sympathy with each other, we say two people are ‘on the same wavelength,’ or they ‘make beautiful music together’ or ‘give off good vibes.’ (Leonard Sweet A Cup of Coffee At The Soulcafe,  B&H Publishers, 1998)

    Some go for a run. Some work with clay. God apparently likes to ride Harley bikes with some of my friends. What does God want you to do today that He can enjoy doing it with you?

    Lord, what do you want to do with me today? What can we do together that will cause the vibes between us become sympathetic?

    ©2014 D. Dean Benton

    Follow on Facebook—Dean Benton and Benton Quest House.

    Branch Office

    Our son was with us for a couple of days and I benefited big time. He brings value to me with his vocational expertise, his knowledge of the Bible, his shared personal journey and coaching questions. He is a charter member of our personal tribe.

    We are upgrading a couple areas of ministries. He served as a coach asking questions that made me clarify my thinking. Synergy happened. His ideas and mine collaborated and produced new thinking that would not have happened without his input. Perhaps these ideas will produce products that will enrich the wider population.
    Whether I talk about natural talents or Spiritual gifts, unused gifts do not just atrophy, they abscess. I like that phrase, but it has serious consequences. If we love to do something, feel called to do certain things, love to see the results of our gifted work, but do not use those gifts, the vacuum will birth depression, anxiety and boredom.

    Blended singing voices are food for my soul. The blending of specific voices produce a sound that enriches me and I get lonesome for that sound entity as if it were a person. A singer I admire, but do not personally know appears to be in distress. I committed to pray for him. I can’t sing with him, but I am feeling some responsibility for the survival of his gift use. I’m finally not responsible for his gift any more than he is for mine, but since I sense I am to pray with him during this season, I have a measure of responsibility. All faithful churches, groups and tribes have responsibility and joy to call forth, nurture and sustain gifts.
    Unused gifts are not just something we can sell from the bargain box on eBay. God gave us gifts for a reason and we will give an accounting to Him for them. Undiscovered, undeveloped, unused gifts are especially grievous to God, if Jesus’ parables are accurate.

    “I would really like to…” is often a description of a God planted dream about your life purpose. I plead with you to take seriously the gift(s) and talents. Don’t cheat me or others out of what will help us fulfill our callings. Fulfill our lives!
    “For God’s sake…and yours, take your calling seriously!” I want to yell that at those whose gifts and talents are allowed to be dormant.
    Carole’s sister bought her a bird house. It is cute and small. The floor plan is four by six inches. We hung it in the tree outside the living room window. I thought it was too late in the season, but a young couple moved in almost immediately. (Lots of talk in recent months about high rent and few rental properties in our city.) They built a nest. Every time one of them carried a stick in and placed it, he or she stepped out onto the branch and announced to the neighborhood they were home and furnishing the place. Of our resident and visiting birds, those two birds—about twice the size of humming birds—have the largest voices. They are taking seriously the command to multiply and to sing.
    In contrast, our granddaughter and her dad have acquired a homing pigeon. It landed and stayed. Apparently, Hannah says, it got lost on its way home.
    Take your calling seriously and the value you add to your world. I wonder if you appreciate the value you add. Perhaps you need a branch to stand on.

    D. Dean Benton

    Benton Quest House