“The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do.” Aldous Huxley

One of the astonishing things I’ve learned raising our foster daughter is that abuse often makes its victims incredibly unlovable.

Long before we took in our foster daughter I had become obsessed with the ways in which childhood abuse not only affected my character Buck Crenshaw but also his siblings. Christians are called to love the unloved — and the unlovable. Many times it turns out that the unloved and the unlovable are the same person. Of course I know Buck’s heart and all that he’s been through so as a writer I love him. Yet some readers have expressed frustration at all of his wrong turns and bad behaviors.

As a  foster parent I’m given the benefit of the doubt. Everyone in the system understands unlovable behavior — a child who eats goat shit, a child who wants to have sex with your dog, a child who struggles with murderous thoughts. As a novelist the problem lies in the fact that readers want to love the characters they read about despite their flaws. But what is a writer to do with prickly characters who shoot quills and make one bad decision after another?

People tell us that our foster daughter is a changed girl but that change continues to take place at a glacially slow pace and even with the changes we must work each day to soften our hearts enough to love her — or even like her. Just like my fictional CRENSHAW siblings, our foster daughter always finds new ways to go left, not right. She finds new ways to annoy and instigate trouble — almost on an hourly basis.

The truth about foster care and abuse: Some kids are over medicated, some never receive the mental health care they need. Some seem fine but carry burdens into adulthood marked by drive, alcohol abuse or an inability to accept love.

As the god of my fictional universe it hurts when a reader doesn’t love a character who really needs to be loved. Writing about them is like being one of those photographers who takes portraits of troubled, desperate foster kids dressed in their best smiles and outfits. Yet the troubled, desperate character still remains.

Writing about unloved and unlovable people comes with heartache and risk. Maybe no one buys the book. In real life maybe the unloved child becomes a menace to society. Maybe he kills people.

I think about the creator of the universe sending souls into the world. What happens when no one loves the unlovable?


How many generations does it take to rid a family of behaviors and problems of the heart that sometimes lead to acts of evil? On the other hand, can there be enough human love devoted to someone to truly set them straight?

The recent shooting in Florida, the ramming of vans into pedestrians, the flying of planes into towers, the modern slave trade that dwarfs the slavery of the past, and the simple, daily, often secret abuse of children (so many cases around the globe that they hardly ever discussed) in homes that from the outside seem quite respectable — these things — these evils are problems of the heart.

We seek easy fixes. I’ve done it myself. Gluten is what makes my foster daughter think of stabbing me in the night with kitchen knives. Alarms on her door will cure her PTSD. All meds are evil. All meds are good.

The reality is that we are under a curse. Town Hall meetings, virtue signalling, talk of burning  NRA spokespeople — these things –are just frosting on the poison cake of life.

If there is no God and there is no truth then murder and abuse have no meaning. Fatherless boys and molested girls are just play things in a culture that regards pleasure and irresponsibility as its god.  If every human feeling is just a social construct and every human desire is equal then why do we even care who lives or dies?

We are flawed. That almost sounds trite. We are murderers, deceivers, neglectful parents. We are selfish and stupid much of the time. We are driven by pride. Gunshots fly all around us and we go on with our day until one shooting is deemed more important than others. We show how deep we are by posting pictures on Instagram  or write posts like this with no answers except one that makes no sense.

LOVE THE IMPOSSIBLE ONES TO LOVE. This act is so uncommon and revolutionary that it seems ridiculous.

It’s easy in fiction writing but I have a long way to go in the real world.

“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.” Aldous Huxley

Humility in the Gene Pool Jukes

Those f**king Jukes!

Those f**king Jukes!

Have you ever been tolerated? It’s not quite like being loved, is it? Toleration is clenched teeth and the inability to even look at the person without having your blood boil. What a strange thing to teach our kids. What about love?

The reason some of us hate the Bible (if we’ve ever bothered to read it) is because it shows us how we really are, not how we wish we could be, or how we someday will be if we just tinker with the system a little more. The road to hell lies in the intentions of tolerant people.

indexThrough clenched teeth each generation has a smoldering tolerance for those others out there who produce too many babies. Those Irish, those Africans, those dirty white trash. Aren’t they the cause of disease in the city? Aren’t they the cause of global warming?

Through clenched teeth, do we laugh along with Bill Gates as he arrogantly talks about reducing population in third world countries? Not us, but THEM. Do we sorta agree that the poor should be sterilized?

There's another damned Juke!

There’s another damned Juke!

I agreed. Before I was poor I agreed, but when I was poor I loved my children. We worship the powerful and blame the poor. This is as old as time. There’s a great bit in the Bible when the apostle John asks Jesus if they should call down fire on a group of people who don’t like Jesus. Jesus is like, “Man, you still don’t get it.”

The Jukes lived in Upstate New York. Who were the Jukes? They were a bunch of people the scientific community threw together in the 1870’s and said were related (turns out they weren’t). This “family” supposedly had the gene pool of criminals and whores. Science proved it (just like it’s proven now that there’s a climate problem we can fix). The Jukes were used as the perfect example of why poor white trash men and women should be sterilized.


If you think we’ve passed all that messy stuff, you’re sadly mistaken. “I must confess that I am tempted to ask for reincarnation as a particularly deadly virus.” Prince Phillip said in the 1980’s–note he still wants to live himself even if it’s as a virus that kills off the unwanted humans. Thank God we have abortion clinics now and hate the words abstinence and hard work.

The Jukes still live in our hardened hearts. They’re the people who eat meat, the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims, the ignorant, the poor, the fertile, the ugly, the unlovable. Here’s why we hate the Bible: Love thy Neighbor.

Try it. Okay we all can do the tolerance thing, but the history of the world proves it’s nearly impossible to do the love thing. But there is this quote from the book some of us just can’t tolerate:” Nothing is impossible with God.”



So What if Your Parents Are Criminally Insane? Meet Buster the Wonder Baby!

Definitely looks insane

Definitely looks insane

“The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
Margaret Sanger, Women and the New Race 

I sort of get Margaret Sanger‘s bitterness. Her family arrived in the New World fleeing the Irish Famine (see the real and disturbing causes HERE). Her mother had 18 pregnancies and died young. So young Maggie gets it into her head that some babies are better off dead–not her, of course, but some other babies.

In Nicaragua I met a lot of unwashed, under-nourished children and not one of them asked me to put them out of their misery. In fact some had dreams of America or finding a cute boy to have a baby with (like people have done since the beginning of time). The girls liked having their nails painted and the boys were big flirts.

As a fifth grade teacher I met kids with alcoholic parents, criminal parents and neglectful parents. Some of these kids loved poetry and being read to.

Poor Maggie transferred her bitterness onto others. Yes, poverty is horrible, but it seems to me that extermination is a little worse (even if it’s done for the supposed good of the children or the environment). Case in point: Buster, the baby born to criminal parents who turned out alright.

While not quite insane, Buster looks like he could kill someone.

While not quite insane, Buster looks like he could kill someone.

But wait, he likes apples. There's hope!

But wait, he likes apples. There’s hope!

Buster rocking the short pants, but possibly still considering petty larceny

Buster rocking the short pants, but possibly still considering petty larceny

Buster turns towards the light

Buster turns towards the light

Life ain't so bad after all

Life ain’t so bad after all

Take thaat! You eugenicists!

Take that! You eugenicists! I look just like a young Prince William!