MonthMarch 2014

Be careful what you pray for


USS Simon Bolivar, SSBN 641.

Back in December of 1992, I faced a crisis in my life.

During those days, I was nearing the end of my 13th year in the U.S. Navy Submarine Service, serving on board the USS Simon Bolivar, SSBN 641. If you ever wondered what the alphabet soup stands for, the designation immediately tells you almost everything about the vessel. It’s a submarine (SS), it carries ballistic missiles (B), and it is powered by a nuclear reactor (N). My designation was Electronics Technician, but in truth it was my job to ensure safe operation of the nuclear reactor used to propel the ship and provide electricity.

Ballistic-misslie submarines essentially had one job: To troll around in the ocean and wait for the message none of us hoped would ever come, which was to actually launch our missiles. We didn’t spy on enemy shorelines or hunt down Continue reading

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Faith says, ‘Go jump off a cliff’


My name is Bob, and I have a confession to make: Even though I work in a church, I don’t like churchy words.

You know what I’m talking about. Head-scratchers like “sanctification” and “born again” and “consecration” and “transubstantiation.” Words that nobody ever uses except in church. Throw out enough churchy words, and you seem … pious. Intelligent. Faithful.

Come to think of it, “faith” is one of those churchy words that gets tossed around like a fruit salad. We make it sound like the Holy Grail, capable of curing diseases, destroying armies, and crushing sea monsters. “You must have faith, my son,” the pastor says to the boy who has just lost his mother. “Your faith will Continue reading

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