Friday, December 27, 2013


Note- when I post these types of post on Facebook- my intent is not to ‘preach’ to my friends who are living in various situations [I have gay friends- friends in different situations]. No- these types of posts are for those who are in these types of groups- AA- etc. and seem to be wanting a lifestyle change to some degree. So- for those who keep seeking some difference- and keep stumbling over stuff- for those- I thought this type of post might help- ok- trust me- I don’t wish to offend anyone.

I want to cover Sponsors in one post- but first let’s get to what I think might be the most important aspect of why some- in AA/NA- might still be struggling- with continual relapse- after an entire lifetime in the program.

This past year as I did read the Big Book- and attended meetings- I noticed- and was told- that many in AA/NA have ‘traded one addiction for another’.

Actually one of our first Halfway House residents told me how- in his view- many have traded the substance addiction for ‘sex addiction’.

That is- a lot of the people are ‘picking up’ people for sex- to put in bluntly.

A few months ago- I was having a talk with a friend who is sort of ‘an expert’ in AA.

Been in it for 25-30 years- knows the material well- good guy.

In our discussion I told him that I feel like many are continuing to have problems because the sex issue is really not dealt with- as a sin- and many who stop drinking/using- are still dealing with the guilt- and what the bible calls ‘wrath’ on a daily basis- because of this actual issue.

Ok- I’m not preaching here- I have ‘been there- done that’.

As most know- I’ve pretty much talked about stuff in an open way this year.

So- no one here is a saint.

But- in scripture- the act of sex- outside of marriage- is considered much more destructive to a person’s soul than all other sin [outside of murder].

So- when people stop abusing drugs/alcohol- but still participate in adultery- the penalty- feeling this Wrath- will still be there- but in a much more pronounced way.

Let me explain.

The Apostle Peter wrote ‘There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises- whereby we can escape the corruption that is in the world THRU LUST’.

As I have stated in other posts this past year- I have come to believe that the core issue of addiction is indeed this lust [sex] issue.

Now- many will identify as a substance abuser- but often the person started using substances- maybe years earlier- as a way to deaden the Wrath [that feeling of guilt- and judgment] that comes along with ‘sleeping around’.

You cannot escape this- period.

So- for some- the root cause of their addiction is this very thing [remember- the bible- which I just quoted above- actually says that the corruption exists in the world- thru lust. Which means that is the root of all other sin in the world. Not saying sex- the God ordained way- in the marriage covenant- but any sex outside of marriage brings this judgment on a person].


I do believe that this is a root cause of relapse- continuing in what the bible describes as a much worse sin/addiction- then the actual substance abuse itself.

But now- when some do indeed find freedom from the substance- but can’t seem to overcome the sex thing- Walla- you begin feeling this judgment- this wrath- in a more pronounced way.

And because the sex thing is not dealt with [I’ll explain in a moment] then there is a natural tendency for the user to want to return to the drug/drink- because that’s the thing that ‘deadened’ the guilt from the start.

Now do you see?

Ok- when I was talking with my friend who has much experience in AA- I told him that when I read thru the big book this past year- I remember reading a page that said the founders of AA decided to be neutral on the sex issue.

My friend vehemently denied this!

See- once again- it was more of a defense of the movement itself- then an honest conversation.

I was not defensive- I told him ‘oh- maybe I’m wrong- I just remember reading a passage- and I remember how it talked about the popular philosophy of Freud- Hedonism- and then that page seemed to say that AA takes a neutral position on the sex issue’.

I remembered the passage because I teach philosophy as well as history- and when the Big Book was written the thinking of Freud was a big debate- Freud taught that one of the problems of man was him trying to restrain himself from any expression of sex at all. That if we throw off all those old ‘Victorian/religious’ rules- and practice unrestrained sex- Hedonism- then we can resolve man’s problems.

So- that’s why I remembered the passage from the big book- it did not say it accepted Freud- but also chose to take no position and not really deal with the whole sex issue [which in my view is THE ROOT of most addictions].

So- my friend- who at first said I was wrong- that the big book does take a stance- went and found the page.

I read the passage- and sure enough- it was the page I remembered.

And- as I re-read it- I was right.

[Just a note here- when he showed me the page- he seemed to say ‘see- it’s here’- like he was defending the Big Book. When I sat there and read it- I told him ‘yeah- this is what I just said- that here AA takes the neutral position’. He then agreed with me. He too knew Freud. He admitted I was right. See? That’s a problem in AA- even my friend- who was open and sincere- when he knew the page he opened to was actually agreeing with my point- he still went ahead- to defend the book- knowing he was wrong.]

I wasn’t mean- I just told my friend how as you read the page [he did know about Freud] that you can see that the Big Book is not taking a stand on the sex issue.

And actually teaches- in another section- that on these issues you follow your conscience- and if whatever type of sex your conscience says is ok- then that’s acceptable.

Ok- once again- if you follow this- and try it- you will never be able to escape the ‘built in’ wrath of God- and in my view- eventually relapse- because the root issue is not dealt with.

I want to say that my experience in AA was not a negative one- but because I was open minded- and never was ‘anti-AA’- this allowed me to get to know people- ask them questions- and try and learn from their experiences.

This last year- as I read up on addictions and the Rehab industry in the U.S.

I found some who are totally opposed to AA- and want to end the program.

I am not in that camp.

As I sit here and write- a verse comes to mind.

When I was back in N.J. - I struggled with whether or not to stay in the meetings.

Most of all I didn’t want to be a stumbling block to those who have found AA/NA as a great help.

To those- I say ‘great- keep doing what you’re doing’.

My intent in this brief critique is for those who are finding themselves in some of the examples above.

The bible says ‘you will know the truth- and the truth will set you free’.

I have found many- most- of the AA friends do not want to hear- or read any of the other literature on addiction.

If someone is close minded- or has a view that reading the other stuff is somehow wrong- then those people will continue to suffer from not knowing the latest information about addiction.

The verse that I read while asking God what position I should take- I knew I was seeing lots of this stuff because I have taught- and participated in Movements over the past 25 years.

So I knew many of the good things about Movements- as well as the dangers.

So- I could see some of these things- and many of my AA friends had no way to spot some of these flaws.


I believe AA/NA is a work of God- and that as it goes for all movements- you can attack them- pick them apart [as many did in the books I read- or from friends who did not want to get clean].

So- this critique I write for the benefit of ‘Bill’s Kids’.

Yeah- one of the most amazing things to me in my year with AA was how God used an ex-alcoholic to start a worldwide movement that would help many people become free from substance abuse.

If I were talking to Bill W right now- I would say-

‘Brother Bill- what a great work of God you founded with a small group- I truly enjoyed being with your kids this year- they are a great family.
These things I write are not meant to simply criticize you.
But I felt like the kids needed this- that as all movements- and books go- apart from the bible- they are with flaws.
I even think you would be displeased to see that some of your kids treat the Big Book- almost like the bible.
So- as I say goodbye to AA- I might stop in every now and then- but I felt like my purpose was done with this great family.
I worried- a lot- that my seeing these things- and not being able to deal with them in a meeting format- might cause others to fall- who are your kids Bill- not mine.
So- I bless your kids- they are a great family- you did something that most never do.
You remained anonymous as much as possible.
You effectively passed off the movement to THE KIDS.
Your kids run the show- that’s great!
Yes- many biblical principles have been introduced thru AA.
I pray that as the movement goes on for many more years.
That the adjustments that need to be made- will be made.
God bless you all


Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBoook] - I have posted lots.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2045- A Christian perspective on AA/NA.

I debated about doing one final post on my experience with AA/NA [Alcoholics anonymous- Narcotics anonymous].


I want to do an honest critique- not only from personal experience- but from the experiences of others.

Yesterday I saw a new resident at our halfway house- I wanted to meet him- a mutual friend had told me this new addition to the house used to be his sponsor- and he relapsed- again.

As a matter of fact- my friend told me that all 5 of his sponsors- over the past 5 years- have relapsed.

The friend who was telling me this- has an addiction to prescription pills- buys- sells- spends whole days in his addiction.

Yet- he too is a sponsor- and does not consider himself an addict- because he has not had ‘one beer in 5 years’.

I tell these stories for the benefit of those who might be saying ‘Gee John- that’s me too!’

Over the years of Pastoral ministry- I of course was familiar with AA.

I spoke about AA in a positive way- most pastors did not.

Many had trouble with the ‘higher power’ concept- not me- till this day most of my friends have found God and refer to God when they use this language.

Yes- many good people have found God and have become clean thru the program.

But- the above scenario has been repeated many times- in just my short year in AA.

I asked the sponsor who relapsed- let’s call him Chuck.

‘Chuck- I was looking forward to meeting you- I have heard lots of great things about you- how long were you clean [this last time] before you relapsed’.

3 years.

‘Ok- what’s the longest clean time you have had- since you have been in AA’?


‘How long have you been in AA’?

25 years.

Chuck is 58 years old.

‘Chuck’ was standing in the same room- at our halfway house- as another resident of the house was just a day or 2 before.

Let’s call him ‘Paul’.

Paul has the same story.

Knows the Big Book- quotes it- has been in AA for 30 years.

And is now 5 months clean- after multiple years of clean stints- and relapses.

 Then- one of our newest residents came in- high as a kite [He did not know I was there- or he would not have come in. If you get high- you get kicked out of the Halfway House].

Just about a week before- I had a talk with him about why I feel the AA meetings are not for me.

[Though all the guys at the house are very involved with AA- and I will still take them to meetings- and in no way try to hinder them from what they feel they need to do].

I have tried to be very nice- and honest- about this.

I told this kid ‘son- you keep referring to yourself as someone with a disease that others just don’t have’.

I went on and told him that sin- in its essence- is sort of like a disease.

But all people suffer from it to one degree or another.

And for the past 2 thousands years- many people have overcome addictive lifestyles thru the grace of God.

I told him that when we do overcome these addictions- it would be better to simply view ourselves as yes- sinners- but sinners who have accessed God’s grace- and are the same as all other sinners.

I found the mindset of ‘I have a disease that makes me different than others’ to be counterproductive in some cases.

One friend says ‘John- we are INSANE- the book says we are insane. Why else would someone go back out and drink after many years of being sober- see- we must be insane’!

Well actually- people go out and chose to sin- because they are sinners.

And yes- some might describe this as insanity.

But my friend used this argument in a way that said ‘see- WE ARE in another group of people- who are different- both mentally and physically than normal people’.

[As a side note- I hope to get to this very point in this study. But- Alcoholism does not fit the category of a disease- like other diseases. Now- to be sure- the EFFECTS of putting substances into your body- whatever they be- do indeed CAUSE diseases- but the actual addiction to a substance- apart from babies being born from mothers who used during pregnancy- is not a disease in the classic sense. Many believe because the medical associations did indeed accept it as a disease- that this makes it one. Many doctors do not embrace this idea at all- and if you simply compare the normal idea of disease- with an addict- they are not the same].

So- as someone who never took a negative view of AA- and still does not- I began to see inherent- if you will- structural problems inside the system.

I also found too many defenders of the movement- who were actively in relapse- to some degree- and yet did not want to admit it- because they took a view of AA like some Christians have about their particular church/denomination.

And they hid their relapse because they wanted to defend their movement.

[Note- when people find their identity by having a particular ‘clean date’- and when so much rides upon that date- 2-3- 10 year celebrations- if they relapse- there is a very real sense that ‘all is lost’. I think the ‘identity of addiction/non addiction’ a term I have coined- is counterproductive. Too much emphasis is placed on the DON’T EVER USE command. While I believe- and practice total abstinence- by God’s grace- yet I do not see it thru a legalistic mentality- a LAW mentality. Over the years I have taught about the difference between law and grace. And I think focusing so much on a person’s clean date can lead to a terrible fall- depression- because many who relapse then try and come back and work twice as hard then before- which can be legalistic].

Some have said ‘for the FIRST TIME in man’s history a way has been given…’

[If I remember- I think this is read at the meetings?]

Now- once again- I know this statement means well- but it’s simply not true.

And if you begin believing this [that God has given- for the FIRST TIME- a plan that will work] then you become a defender of a movement [though good] in a way that certain cultic members defend their movements.

‘God has- for the first time- restored the true church’- etc. etc.

So- I have read up this last year on the entire Addiction/Recovery industry- and I want to share more up to date info.

Historically- more people have achieved recovery thru the Church- thru not only ‘attending church’ [which is not ‘church’ to the full degree of being a practicing Christian] but thru either the participation of the sacramental life of the High Church denominations [Catholics- Orthodox, etc] or thru the usual means of the dispensation of Grace from a Protestant perspective [Altar Call- Baptism- witnessing- etc].

What I mean is- more addicts have become clean thru the practice of the Christian faith- than in AA- period.

I don’t say this as a ‘shot’ at AA.

Some have said ‘I tried church- it didn’t work’.

I asked ‘what do you mean- you tried church’.

‘Well- I went to church on Sunday- watched religious shows- etc.’

I would then respond ‘no- that’s not CHURCH’.

I responded ‘no- Jesus- and Christianity teach -you must give it away to keep it’ [a main theme in AA].

I told him ‘what you tried was simply going to a Christian church meeting without practicing the ‘whole program’.

Which includes many [if not all] of the steps that you would follow in AA.

Which indeed is where Bill and the founders based their movement on, it was at one time called THE JAMES GROUP- named after the letter of James in the New Testament.

The point I was making was- I have had more than one well intending person simply write off THE CHURCH- not realizing that they never really tried THE CHURCH.

That is- they never really implemented the teachings of Christ fully- and many others- over a 2 thousand year history- had.

So- once again- this is not to say that God is not working in AA/NA.

No- without a doubt he is.

But because I have had many experiences this past year- of people- who after 30 years or so- continue to relapse.

[Note- these people- without an exception- when I asked them what happened. They simply believed that it was their fault. Now- maybe so. But to the point of ‘no- this program has BEEN PROVEN to have never failed- for those who do it fully’ is taught in the Big Book. But there are many- I’m sure- that might have failed because of other reasons. Like I’m explaining today. See- if after multiple stories of relapse- and if you are reading the words in The Big book- that says ‘up to now- all who failed- did so because of ..’ some fault of their own- then this can become a self-defeating cycle. There might be- and indeed are- other reasons that some of these people continue to relapse. Some have developed such a defeatist view of themselves- and at times an irresponsible one ‘I have a disease- that’s why this happens to me’. See- some have embraced wrong- false ideas. And it is possible that this minority [or majority?] of cases- they are relapsing because they need better- more up to date help with their addictions].

If you hold to this outdated view [that all who have followed this system have never been known to fail- up to now] - penned by good men about 80 years ago.

Then you need to be updated on the latest data.

[Maybe at the time that Bill wrote this- it was true- but not now. And to continue to tell people that all who followed the plan never relapsed- is simply not true].

 Updating these mistaken concepts would help the movement- in my view.

For their sake- those who have a history of relapse after many years in the program- over the next few days I want to give you a balanced approach.

Though I am clean for a year- I really don’t see this as some ‘rare’ thing.

Nor do I want to use my example as the basis for this study.

No- the actual data show us that more people over the past 2 thousand years- have become free from addictions- thru the practicing of Christianity [and to be fair- other religious disciplines as well- Islam- etc.- which teach biblical principles of self-discipline- prayer- fasting- etc] then following any other program.

 The bible does indeed tell us that we can chose to ‘sin not’.

That’s really not such a surprise- to have to go thru all types of other things- then to simply seek God- apply the teachings of your church- and yeah- many get clean.

Ok- I don’t want this final post on AA to be negative.

Those in the movement that have found freedom- I bless you.

If you were to ask me a percentage number on the ‘good versus bad’.

Geez - I would say 90% is good- maybe 10 % needs a correction- a structural change within the movement.

The problem is- because AA is truly a movement- and yes- a God given movement [but not THE FIRST- or only].

Run by what we call ‘laymen’ [the biblical principle of the actual followers running the show- this is very biblical in nature- and because the meetings are founded this way- with no single Pastor type person- the meetings are in my view run in a more biblical way than many churches].

But at the same time- I don’t know how the movement can make the adjustments that in needs to make.

There are many examples I can give- from well-meaning people in the program- who simply do not realize that their view of AA/NA in general has become ‘cultic’.

Just one example- out of many.

One friend was giving me the NA book- and of course as a reader- who has also read many more up to date materials on addiction- I received the book graciously- and told him I would start reading.

Which I of course did- like I did with the Big Book.

But he told me that all the other books I read- they were ABOUT  addiction- no- this one was different than all others [once again- the same cultic approach you see in various Christian cults- who are also very good people- but have a sort of higher view of the writings of their movement- sort of like scripture].

My friend simply believed that the NA book he was giving me was one of a kind.

That every other book on drug addiction fell into the category of ‘about addiction’

But that this one- this was the only one that saved you from addiction.

Once again- all well-meaning people- but these signs are danger signs- at least to me.

They come too close to the more extreme Christian churches- who also hold to these types of views about their writings.

I also found that many appealed to their own example [though as of now- every one that has discussed this with me- has seemed to have relapsed]

I would say ‘don’t just look at me- or any other person- no- the data show [data- other books- studies] show that many are getting clean thru these other approaches’.

[Note- in my discussions- some friends openly admit this- they say that the Book says there are other programs that work. But yet later- they will also still hold to the concept that FOR THE FIRST TIME God gave a program that frees people. These 2 ideas are contrary. I think some simple changes to the language would help].

One friend- a leader in the local movement- would tell me outright that reading the other literature was sort of being unfaithful to the Big Book.

I gave him my other books on addiction- he did not read them.

But then when we got into these discussions.

Maybe he would say ‘No- this is the first time a God given program has been shown to man…’

I would simply quote the latest data- which shows this belief to be false.

He would say ‘I never heard that’.

I would respond ‘if you don’t read anything else on addiction- but simply keep re-reading the 154 pages [which seems to be a sort of Fundamentalist approach within the movement itself- I have heard some Old Timers say the 154 are the key] over and over again- then you will never broaden your perspective about anything- including addiction recovery!’


Note- when I post these types of post on Facebook- my intent is not to ‘preach’ to my friends who are living in various situations [I have gay friends- friends in different situations]. No- these types of posts are for those who are in these types of groups- AA- etc. and seem to be wanting a lifestyle change to some degree. So- for those who keep seeking some difference- and keep stumbling over stuff- for those- I thought this type of post might help- ok- trust me- I don’t wish to offend anyone.

I want to cover Sponsors in one post- but first let’s get to what I think might be the most important aspect of why some- in AA/NA- might still be struggling- with continual relapse- after an entire lifetime in the program.

This past year as I did read the Big Book- and attended meetings- I noticed- and was told- that many in AA/NA have ‘traded one addiction for another’.

Actually one of our first Halfway House residents told me how- in his view- many have traded the substance addiction for ‘sex addiction’.

That is- a lot of the people are ‘picking up’ people for sex- to put in bluntly.

[Ill post the rest tomorrow]

Friday, December 20, 2013


JOURNAL- September- January- 2013

Note- every so often I get the sense that I might not post anymore.

When I ‘feel’ this- I seriously consider ‘going away’.


There are indeed times- strategic times- when it’s God’s purpose to GO AWAY.

Jesus said this- multiple times- to his disciples.

‘It is expedient for you- that I go away’

‘I go to prepare a place for you’ [the idea here is when he leaves- they will in a way be forced to pick up where he left off- you know- like the momma Eagle kicking her babies out of the nest type thing].

‘A little while- and the world sees me no more’.

‘Where I go- you cannot come’.

Okay- all these references are from John’s gospel- and I could do an entire study on this principle.

A few weeks back I picked up one of the classics that I never read.

Catcher in The Rye- a novel by J.D. Salinger.

I’m almost done with it- and to be quite honest- it’s not good at all.

I don’t say this for the usual reasons the book is rejected [lots of schools did not permit the book in their classes- because he uses God’s name in vain and the book is a little riske’ at times].

No- that stuff never bothers me.

The book is simply boring- and immature.

Ok- then why did I read it?

I always knew that Salinger became famous- because after he wrote his novel- he WENT AWAY.

He bought a secluded home in the North East- and never wrote again.

This created a mystique about the man- and in a way it propelled his book- even though it’s really not a good work.

So- this principle of ‘going away’ is biblical- often times it’s not easy to do- that’s why some writers- or rock singers- become famous after their deaths- because you now realize that what’s left is all you got.

Okay- I don’t see this as a game- I am simply trying to hear God about this.

When I was broadcasting on the Radio for 20 years- there were whole years when I never spoke.

I made radio tapes on a weekly basis- and had enough for years.

So- when I felt like taking time off- I would not teach for a whole year.

Blogging is a bit different- but the same principle applies.

By the way- I haven’t been on Facebook- or checked it for over 2 months [as of today- 12-2-13].

As of now- I’ll simply make this journal- and when/if I post it- then I’ll read/see any comments or messages.

I just want my friends to know I simply don’t check the site- unless I’m posting.

Ok- hope you enjoy this journal- that is if it ever gets posted!


1st week of December -2013

Well- I have been back in Texas for a couple of months now.

Our little halfway house is doing good- the friend I started it with last year has had lots of physical problems and I thru myself into this ministry again.

I also re-connected with the street crew- my original ‘gang’ from Texas.

And this past week I also got back in touch with Cameron.

I posted about Cameron right before I left Texas in 2013.

He was a new kid at the halfway house- was on probation [10 years!] and tested dirty on a drug test.

So- when I left Texas- he was back in jail.

He was released [once again] to the halfway house- and I have been getting with him this past week.

Took him to Bay Area Fellowship yesterday-might take him for a city cruise [like the apostle Paul said in the book of Acts ‘let’s go and visit all the cities we preached the gospel in’] today.

Yeah- I need to take a ride to Kingsville- Bishop- and maybe even Rio Grande city.

I met a new guy this week- Albert.

He spent a week at our halfway house- and had some ministry background.

Whenever we get a new guy- and he has some bible background- David [the guy I started the halfway house with] always wants me to meet him.

I’m sort of the Pastor for the halfway house.

So- I got with Albert on his last day with us [he only spent a week].

He’s from Robstown [an area city that’s known for drug dealing].

His wife has a church right on the border of Texas/Mexico.

He asked me if I knew where Rio Grande City was.

Heck- I spent 2-3 nights there about 10 years ago [a Firefighter school I went to].

So- God willing- I might take a trip to the area.

Albert worked as a missionary in this region years ago- it’s where his wife grew up.

But even he told me it’s very dangerous now- the drug runners will kidnap/kill you in a second.

So- do me a favor and pray for our safety- I do want to make the trip.


Being I have not posted- or written any posts in 2 months- I want to give a brief update on the ‘North Bergen Crew’ [the street guys I befriended while in New Jersey].

The guys keep in touch with me regularly.

About 2 days ago Rick called [he’s the only one with a phone- or has my number [Nick too] - so the other guys ask how I’m doing and stuff- they were already asking when I’m coming back! Geez- not yet].

He gave me an update on the area- Rick moved to Hoboken about a month ago- but he still hangs out at the White Castle in North Bergen.

It’s funny- this spot became the meeting place for the crew- I used to eat at this restaurant when I was a kid.

Of course they rebuilt the thing- but it’s still in the exact spot.

Let me share one interesting story that happened the day before I left North Bergen.

During my 3 month trip- and before- the year was a year of Signs [dreams- visions- etc.]

Over the years I try not to talk too much about these experiences- because they are subjective- you never really know if the sign is ‘real’ or the person is simply wrong.

So- as those of you who read the site know- I try to teach in line with Historic Christianity.

Ok- when I ‘moved’ to North Bergen [the town I was raised in right across the Hudson River from New York City] I seriously thought I might move back for good.

The first 2 months back- I checked into housing- asked about the rents and all- and left the door open to stay.

In Texas I gave away/sold lots of my stuff.

I got rid of both my vehicles- and did the ‘sell what you have and come follow me’ thing.

As I sit here writing- I’m in an empty study- that used to be filled with my books.

I acquired- literally- thousands of dollars in books over the years.

I gave the majority of them away- to a church- before I left.

So yeah- I did leave the option open that I was leaving for good.

As time went on- I realized I will go back every year- for around 3 weeks [by the way- this year- 2014- my goal is to start some home bible studies- if anyone in the North Bergen/NYC area is interested- text me at 361-461-0588. My email never gets checked- so the best way is to message me].

Ok- because the rents were high- I wound up staying at my old house where I grew up as a kid.

My mom and sister still lived there.

I led my sister to the Lord many years ago- and she always viewed me as sort of her spiritual mentor.

When I told her I will be moving back to New Jersey- she was so happy!

The week before I flew back- she died.

So- for a few weeks I lived in her old downstairs apt- surrounded by all her little trinkets and stuff- and I would wake up early [around 3 or 4] and pray for about an hour or so in the yard.

Her cats [just like mine in Texas] knew what time I would be walking and praying- and they would wait for me in the yard- they love being petted when I do this. I pray with a stick in my hand- sort of a staff- and as they walk next to me I pet them. In Texas they follow me on the roof- it’s low- so I pet them right on the roof- they get so into it a few times they fell off trying to get noticed!]

There was a very real sense that the death of my sister would play a redemptive role in this whole journey.

It would take too much time to teach this now- but I felt she made a very real sacrifice as well as me- for the spiritual benefit of the town we grew up in.

When my friends die- I sort of include them in my payer time- not praying ‘to them’ but in a way ‘gathering’ all their prayers- and concerns- into one prayer community.

[Someday I will teach this entire theme from scripture- in Acts chapter10 it says the prayers of Cornelius came up as a ‘memorial before God’. In the book of Revelation we read about an Angel [messenger] casting a censor into the earth- and it was filled with the collected prayers of the people. These images speak of the spiritual reality of ‘collecting’ the prayers of others as you pray. Protestants are not very aware of this principle- Catholics are].

So- as you can imagine- the actual death of my sister- and me living in her apt. and driving her car [my mom gave me my sisters car- that is the car I’m driving right now in Texas- remember- I sold both my vehicles] were all giving me a real sense of the ‘partnership’ I had with my sister as we both were back in our old town- for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

So- one morning while I was going downstairs to the yard [I walked down thru an upstairs hallway- thru the old garage [which is now a finished apt.] where I kept many a dirt bike [and go cart!] back in the day- and down the alley into the yard.

This morning I had a sense of ‘what would you do if you saw your sister’.

It was eerie!

In the bible- there are just a few cases of ‘seeing dead people’ [not talking Bruce Willis and the 6th sense either].

One of the most famous is the story of the prophet Samuel during the time of King Saul.

In a scripture that’s been debated a lot- we read about a sort of soothsayer [Palm Reader type person] who brings back the dead prophet Samuel to appear to King Saul.

Obviously this can be used in many strange ways- some question the authenticity of whether the lady brought Samuel back.

As you read the account [off hand I forget the actual verse] it seems to say that she did indeed bring a dead guy back- not a raising from the dead- but an appearance of the soul/spirit of Samuel.

So- though I wouldn’t build a doctrine on the thing- yet stuff like this can happen.


After I had this experience- of sort of sensing ‘what if you see Laura- who died’.

I got a chill- but simply prepared myself for some type of sign- which has happened a lot this year.

 But nothing happened- yet.

So- one day my mom [whose house I was staying at] said ‘ok John- today before you run out [yeah- I got up early- and would take off most of the day- either walking New York City- or North Bergen- Union City- etc.- I wanted to run into as many street guys as possible before I left] I have a job for you and Patrick to do.

Patrick was a good friend of mine for many years- used to date my sister- and in a way I used to see him as the street friends I have made over the years.

He is a recovering addict- and we went to a lot of the NA meetings together.

So- Pat lives at my mom’s house- uses a spare bedroom- and I see him like a brother.

But- my mom would ask us to both do some type of job together- fix the fence- move some furniture- whatever.

And I realized it would be better for her to just give me the job- everyone else go out- and I’ll do it alone [you know-the micro manager type thing was a problem].

Not to be mean- but trust me- it worked better that way.

So a few days before I left- she asked ‘ok- you and Patrick need to paint 2 walls in the living room today [today? It will take me less than an hour- I used to paint houses for a living].

So- Pat bought all those little paint devices you see on TV- you know- the stuff the pro’s NEVER USE [Edger’s- sponge type brushes- Tape for the edges- EEK!]

I told mom ‘Please- just get me one good paint brush- a roller and paint- I don’t need all of these other things- including the tape to ‘tape the corners’.

Not to be mean- but the best way to do this is to simply ‘cut’ the area with a brush.

Over the years you learn to use the paint brush without going over the edge.

Anyway- she had some cheap little brush- and the roller and paint.

What the heck- I told her ‘please- you and Pat go in the other room- I’ll be done in around 30 minutes’.

I was- moved the furniture- laid a drop cloth- rolled and cut- under an hour- done.

Ok- my mom had just printed new pictures of my sister- and the night before I left I hung them up on this freshly painted wall.

So- as mom’s go- she wanted to buy me stuff for the road trip back to Texas.

She bought me this nice little road light [as a side note- 2 nights ago I started our first home church- this year I want to start a few of them- Texas- New Jersey- Switzerland. There were 2 little 5 year old girls- real sweethearts- they were the kids of some of our new team of young leaders that I’m enlisting for this new mission- they somehow got a hold of this light- and they were having so much fun running thru the house- in the yard- flashing this light].

You know- if you get a flat the thing blinks and all- roadside emergency type light.

As we are sitting in the living room- I am opening up the package- trying to get the car packed before the morning [I left just a few hours after this].

And my mom walks into the living room and sees me with the light- and the batteries still in the package- unopened.

She says ‘Oh- the light works real nice- but how did you get it to work without the batteries’.

I said ‘what do you mean- it’s not on’.

She looked puzzled- she is standing in front of the wall with my sisters new pictures- and she says ‘John- your light is flashing- I’m looking at Laura’s picture- don’t you see it flashing’.

Ok- I knew this was the ‘sign’ I sensed a few nights earlier- a sort of Open Vision- where you see something while awake.

Now- as I convinced her the light was not on- she began to panic- she kept asking ‘don’t you see it flashing John- it’s so bright!

I sat her down and walked her through it.

I told her ‘mom- I don’t see it flashing- but if you do- I believe you’.

I told her it’s possible that Laura- in a way- is saying ‘John- I really was part of this whole adventure you just had- I’m up here- with your other friends who have died- the ones you ‘have gathered’ as a communion of Saints- I’m saying goodbye on your last night in North Bergen- OH- thanks for petting my cats’.

Now- I simply tried to explain to my mom that I felt God had told me a few days before that I would indeed see some type of sign from my sister.

Surely this must have been it.

[By the way- thanks for the car Laura- it’s truly the best running car I ever had. It drove back to Texas great- everyone compliments me on it].

NOTE- One of the bible verses that was impressed on my mind this year was from the book of James ‘Every good and perfect gift comes from above- from the FATHER OF LIGHTS’. If you remember- this year I posted about seeing a Supernova one morning while up praying in the yard- and later that day there was the most viewed meteor ever- it took place in Russia.

These of course were LIGHTS- the above sign from my sister was a blinking light.

And right after I got back to Texas I was walking home from the local street mission where I meet the homeless crew.

As I walked under the highway overpass- I saw a homeless guy- who I never met before.

He caught my attention because he had this paint brush hanging from his belt- and it was actually the one I needed when I painted the wall in New Jersey [the one where my mom saw the picture flashing].

I walked up to the brother and hung out with him for about 30 minutes- right there off the street.

In about 5 minutes we were talking like we knew each other for years.

That’s the way the street guys live.

 He told me after a few minutes-

‘We can tell when someone’s for real- that he really cares for the homeless’

He was simply saying he knew I wasn’t a fake.

As I talked with him- he told me his name was Orville and he’s been around for years.

I asked him if he knew ‘so and so….’

I usually rack up a bunch of names so the guys know I’m not making stuff up- that I have been around a while.

He knew the names I mentioned.

He told me he also sings gospel songs- and he wrote one.

Sure enough- he started singing- pretty good- right there.

Geez- like angels songs!

I asked him if he needed a few dollars.

He said ‘sure’.

And as has happened before- I open my wallet and I only have a five- no big deal- he got the 5.

He tells me ‘wait- I have a gift for you’.


For me?

Right before I left North Bergen- I picked up a few things I thought I might need.

One was the little flashlight things that you hang on a key chain.

Every so often- you need a light to see where your stuff is when you’re parked on the side of the road- sleeping at the rest stops [I drove back and slept in the car overnight].

Sometimes when I need something- I try and wait a day or so before I buy it.

Because I either find I have an extra one laying around- or someone gives me one.

But- I bought a little Mag light- but it’s not too bright.

So- as I’m talking to this strange homeless brother- with ‘my’ paint brush on his belt.

He reaches under his shirt and pulls out a chain he has around his neck.

And he pulls off of the chain- you guessed it- one of the little lights I needed.

Man- the things is about 10 times brighter than the one I bought.


I take the gift- which was sort of strange- the street guys usually don’t give out gifts.

I finish our talk- and off I went.

The next few days I ask the local street crew ‘Hey- I met some guy named Orville- he said he knew you- do you know the guy’.

One by one- no one knew him.

Ok- in the book of Hebrews it says ‘be careful to help strangers- because some have helped angels and they didn’t even know it’.

After my buddies did not know the guy- I went home later in the day and double checked if that light was for real- still in my drawer.

Sure is- bright as a little Nova.

I don’t know if Orville- the drunk gospel singer- was an angel or not.

But this year one of the verses was ‘FATHER OF LIGHTS’.

Felt it was cool either way.


 12-7/13- 2013 I want to cover the state of our nation/world this week. 

Being I haven’t posted for 3 months- obviously a lot of news stories have gone by- and I simply can’t retrieve them all now.

But- the overall geo-political state of the world right now is an important thing for us to see.

‘Gee John- we all get the news- doesn’t that cover it’.

In a way- yeah.

But because the American Media is so skewed- we often simply get what that particular side wants you to hear- whether it be ‘the right’ or ‘the left’.

Ok- The Affordable Care act [ObamaCare] has been just about as bad as any roll out could get.

We all know the Web Site is/was a disaster.


Ok- here’s where you can’t just listen to the right or left- but both.

If you notice- the left leaning media did report that Obama was too ‘insular’ that he was not open to real criticism within the White House.

There was an entire book [or 2] written about the Presidents real lack of any management skills.

A year or 2 ago- one of his top financial guys- Larry Lindsey- said the same thing.

It was insider language that was leaked to the press- but they were saying at the time ‘no one is in charge here’.

So- this was the view from his own people- not Hannity or Rush.

So- the roll out of ObamaCare was bad- and the insiders say that in a normal functioning team- after the political part [of passing the law] was over.

You would then hire an outside team of the best [Google- or any other number of top guys] and let them do the job.

The President simply did not know- or have the desire to do this- this basic function of management.

So- instead- the people who built the site were people with ties to the president- people who did not have the skills to produce a final product [the web site- I have heard other tech experts say this. So- this critique I just gave you seems to be the real story. And whether you support the President or not- the fact is he really dropped the ball by not having the management skills for this- see?]

What about Foreign policy?

Again- the left/right will focus on what they want [He got Osama!! Yes- but that is not even 1% of what falls under foreign policy].

After 5 years in office- the world is much more unstable than it has been in many years.

Now- whoever is to blame- you judge.

I’m just stating fact.

The President talked about ‘re-setting’ relations with Russia.

That failed- Russia has even gained a degree of ‘one upmanship’ in the Syria situation.

What they said/wanted all along- they got [possible future talks between Assad and the rebels- the U.S. strongly opposed this- yet at this point we would be lucky to get it. It looks like Assad is going to win this war- and Russia comes out on top. With Putin even rebuking Obama in a New York Times article that slammed him for talking about American Exceptionalism].


The president talked about a new focus on Asia [because all the other areas were going so bad!].

For many years now- China- Japan- Korea- etc.- have been existing with a degree of tension and an occasional rocket launch [or sinking of a ship!- North Korea- South Korea].

But the various actors in the Pacific theater have existed- and functioned- with the tension there.

So- after the President spoke about a new focus on that area- it has grown markedly worse.

A few weeks ago China unilaterally extended its airspace- and warned the surrounding countries to get permission before they fly thru that space.

The air space has been disputed for a while- but normally they would not have the bravado to do this.

Why Now?

Ok- some in the media tried to ‘spin’ this story- that it had nothing to do with a new view of American weakness in the world [Our backing down on Syrian president Assad was indeed a major blow to U.S. authority. I was [am] not in favor of military action in Syria- but when a U.S. President says he will act ‘if a line is crossed’ and then he doesn’t- that looks very bad]

So- China [and Russia] do indeed see these things as weakness- and without a doubt China did this act because they felt they could get away with it.

The tensions in the region are higher than they have been in years.

As the year ends- Iran- Egypt- The entire continent of Africa [Libya- Egypt- etc.] are very unstable- in reality- worse than 5 years ago [when the President took office].

I do not place the blame entirely on him- but he does indeed bare some of it.

Both President Obama- and John Kerry- have made public statements- off the cuff [or without thinking them thru- the drawing of a red line in Syria- and Kerry’s off the cuff remark about not following thru on the threat of military force if Syria starts getting rid of their weapons- which was a public statement by the Secretary of state that blatantly contradicted the Presidents statement that he would indeed hit Syria if they used chemical weapons- which they did].

Ok- these public mistakes- which can of course be forgiven- are indeed factors that have led to the instability of the region.

This week Saudi Arabia sent a delegation to Israel- which is amazing- Both Saudi Arabia and Israel are against Obama’s stance with Iran.

Like some Democrats [Schumer] and Republicans- they feel the 6 month backing off of sanctions on Iran- while they continue to develop Enriched Uranium- was a very bad deal.

The surprise is that Saudi Arabia would have talks with Israel- it is likely that Israel will hit Iran regardless of what the U.S. does- if they deem the threat of an actual Nuclear rocket to be close.

So- lots of instability- and some of it is a direct result of blunders- statements made by the President and his top people.

In my view- ‘Obamacare’ is simply not going to work.

A few years back- while working at the Fire Dept. - we had a ‘new policy’ that was going to be implemented.

It had to do with the way you attack a structure fire.

I was the Senior Engineer/Driver at the time [I made the position very young- I think I was the youngest engineer ever to make that rank up to that time- around 23-4]

So- as someone with lots of experience- not just ‘head knowledge’ I sat and listened to these new ‘wonderful changes’ that were being made.

During the meeting- I spoke up and told the Fire Chief- and the Captains- that this new policy- though well meaning- is not for a small dept. like ours.

In Layman’s terms- we were changing the attack strategy in such a way that the first fire truck at the scene was going to by-pass the fire- if need be- so he could get to the Hydrant first- and then go back to the fire.

In a big dept. - you can get away with this- because you have multiple fire trucks to work with- and the first truck can still stop at the house fire- without trying to find the Hydrant first.

Our Dept. basically had 2 attack pumpers- if we did the policy 100% as it was told to us- we would have had scenarios where you might have people in the house- that’s on fire- and the fire truck would actually drive past the house- if the hydrant was on a different street. I told the Captains that the danger of this- never mind the liability to the dept. - was not good. People will be watching us drive past the house- having no idea what the ‘heck’ we are doing!

[note- in some cases- if the hydrant is on the way to the house- then ok- you stop for a few seconds- which in my mind is still not good- because you are cutting down the response time by the initial truck]

Simply put- I told our chief that we were not ready to implement this policy that fast- that even if he insisted on changing the tactic [called Forward lay and Reverse lay] we still needed some attachments for the intakes on the truck and stuff like that.

It didn’t make a difference- they still changed the policy very quickly- and I let the Captains know what they needed if their new- more inexperienced drivers were going to do this [the senior Captain listened to me- and delayed the new policy until we ordered the new attachments].

The newer drivers simply did not foresee some of the problems- because on paper it looked good- but from experience I knew it was not good.

Eventually the Dept. made the changes that I mentioned- and we managed to not get anybody killed because of it.

About a year or 2 ago- as I watched the whole Obama Care scenario being explained by the proponents- I told some one ‘even though I am not against helping people get insurance- the more I see this- the more I get a sense that it will simply never work’.

The same feeling I had when the Chief was explaining the new changes at the fire house.

So as we end the year- it has not been a good year- politically- or in my view- globally.

There is still much work to be done- and it seems as if the old Medical dictum might be wise to follow- when you’re trying to help someone- do what you can- but make sure you don’t cause more harm in the process.

I think that what started with good intentions- Obamacare- is going to do more harm than if they left the thing alone- or made smaller changes- without trying to do a complete overhaul of 1/6th of the economy overnight.


Today I was gonna write on Pope Francis- update how his Pontificate has been going- some of the recent criticism he has gotten and all- but I think I’ll do the ‘KENNEDY CONNECTION’.


Yeah- you heard me!

Ok- for those who do think ‘Poor John- he was such a nice kid when we knew him in high school- but he seems to have gone nuts’.

Yeah- for you guys- I do very much realize these posts don’t help much [Ok- this is a joke- not the actual post that follows- but this line. I hope most of my old friends can tell- but when writing on-line- Facebook- etc. - people can’t always tell].

Ok- what Kennedy are you talking about John?

Yeah- the big one- JFK.

These past few years- writing about the Halfway house- talking about my street friends.

I have told the story of John David- multiple times.

I knew him- and his 2 brothers [Hugh and Andy] from the streets- good ole boys- but yeah- like my new North Bergen buddies- they are in some ways- well- criminals.

Now- do I approve of it?


But that’s who we are sent to help- Jesus said the whole [healed] don’t need a doctor- but the sick.


Over time John David- who is guilty of killing his best friend many years ago [shot him with a shotgun] got clean [was an alcoholic and Meth addict for years].

In 2012 he asked me to help him start a Halfway House.

I did.

The way he got off the murder wrap was his mom got the actual lawyer that Jack Ruby had [Rudy shot Oswald- who killed JFK].

So- it’s just interesting that he had this connection- living now in Corpus Christi.

Ok- one day David had a drunk- Charlie- living in his apt.

If David finds a new prospect for the Halfway House he’ll put him up in his own place until he sobers up for at least a week.

I usually go over David’s at this stage and meet the guys- pray for them- and become friends.

If they eventually make it into the halfway house- then I get with the guys while I’m doing ministry stuff [like this year I have just started going to different cites- Bishop the other day- to open up home groups].


So I talked to Charlie for an hour or 2- became good friends- and about a week later David kicked him out.

He snuck a beer- and David tells the guys no drinking at the house.

So- being I never met Charlie before- he lives on the other side of town- I figured that was that.

So- about a week later I’m at the mission where I work with the street guys [my ministry is separate from the halfway house- I help with the halfway house- but that’s just a part of the overall calling].

And sure enough- I run into Charlie!

Now- when I first got into AA [I am no longer with AA- I have been sober for just under a year- but that was just not my calling- maybe for others it is- but I had a different path].

I heard [from the street- I do respect the Anonymous part of AA- so I will only tell the stories that were told to me by friends- outside sources- that’s part of my calling- to tell these guys stories].

About someone who was sober for many years and had a relative severely burned in the 9-11 attacks and he went ‘back out’ [drank].

This story was kind of used- by more than one person- as an example of the dangers of taking that one drink.

The story said the guy became a drunk again for many years [in his 70’s] and finally made it back- after a long struggle.

For this post I won’t use his real name- but we call him Pop’s.

I never met the man- just heard his story.

Ok- when I ran into Charlie at the mission- he was so happy to see me.

He had a friend with him- an old guy- who could not stop telling me how highly Charlie thinks of me- and how well he has spoken about me.

I did appreciate the compliment- and it was from a nice old guy.

So I told them I would give them a ride back to their house [they came on bus to the mission this day- and they live about 3 blocks from the halfway house- close to where David lives- you know- the guy who got Jack Ruby’s lawyer- see- I told you this post would not help in my effort to proclaim I’m not nuts].

As I talked with Pop’s- I began to realize he’s the guy that people told me about- the one who went back to drinking after a relative was burned in the 9-11 attacks.

Pops began telling me his story over the next few weeks- and when I told him I did a Web Site he asked for me to write his story.

To be honest- Pop’s likes to talk- lots.

Not saying he’s lying- no- he’s honest- just lots of info!

So- the part’s that can be told- [without going too long] are in this post.

As I talked with the Old Man- at one point he mentioned how he knew Oswald as a kid.


Yeah- Lee Harvey.

Pop’s told me they were kids- sort of from the same block.

You know- as a kid in the good Old Days you might play street football or something with the kids on another block.

That’s how pop’s knew Oswald.

Now- Pop’s lives about 7 blocks from my buddy John David [you know- Ruby’s lawyer..]

They both know each other- there stories are kind of famous in the regional AA meetings.

Now- Both David and Pop’s want their stories to be told- publicly [Pop’s actually asked me to write it].

So- when I told Pop’s ‘did you know John David had Ruby’s Lawyer..’

He didn’t know.

I don’t think I even mentioned the Oswald thing to David yet.

But as I sat with Pop’s this day- in his run down Apt. [worse than Oscar Madison from the Odd Couple- he lets Charlie live there- and Charlie is always drunk- it is a bad situation and I have offered- more than once- to get Charlie out- into a program- Pop’s has known Charlie since he was a kid and he refuses to ‘kick’ him out].

I thought how strange this is- I’m sitting in Texas- and during the 50th memorial of the Killing of JFK [it was all over the news- by the way- one of the pictures they show from the footage- has Pop’s in it. He’s a young kid being interviewed in a Navy Uniform from one of the News Reels].

And 2 of the guys I’m working with in ministry have real connections to this story.

And they don’t even know they both have this connection.

Ok- I think I’ll end this week’s posts here.

I now realize I will post this journal in January- 2014.

As you guys read it- remember- this year we are starting some home bible studies.

I had the first one the other night with some of the younger group I’m working with- New Blood if you will.

People who can carry the message- be used of God to expand the work in future generations.

Sort of looking at a Movement Type thing.

I have been at this a long time- ministry- outreach- all the stuff you guys have been reading these past few years.

This year I want to start making preparations for the ministry to go on without me.

Not that I plan on dying any time soon- but taking steps to pass some of this stuff off to some of our younger group.

Ok- that’s it for this week.

See you later.